*** Originally Posted on the Adaptive Path Blog ***
Adaptive Path has a lending library for its employees and interns to use. The San Francisco Library has been around for about four years and we have 488 books in the collection, plus periodicals. I am the Librarian for the San Francisco Library; our other studios are working on creating libraries of their own.
The library is run as a small, special library, much like the scientific library at the Rowland Institute at Harvard, where I used to work. There are no due dates and no fines. People check out the books for as long as they need. A few times a year I send a reminder email of the books folks have checked out and remind them to return them if they are no longer using them.
I use Delicious Library as the library catalog. We are still in the process of getting the catalog online. Luckily the collection is small enough that folks can browse the shelves for what they are looking for, or they ask me.
The library uses real library supplies, such as plastic book jackets for hard covered books, checkout cards and book pockets. Each book is cataloged and assigned a Library of Congress catalog number. I decided on Library of Congress because of the technical nature of the books in the collection. Most of the cataloging is copy cataloging using the Library of Congress catalog or OCLC’s World Cat.
We don’t have a strong collection development policy. Many people donate books to the library. We have a monthly budget to spend on books. Folks will make requests for a title or I will order something that I think people would be interested in. I send out an email to the company with the new titles whenever I add books.
I think the most important principles for a studio library to have are:
1. A way to keep track of what books there are and who has what checked out.
2. A clear organizational scheme so people can find a book on the shelf.
3. Plastic jackets for hard cover books really does help protect them. The jackets get really beat up quickly otherwise.
I don't think it matters what system (e.g., Dewey Decimal, Library of Congress, your own organizational system) you use as long as it meets those three points. I used a traditional library system because that's what I know and I knew it would scale. The important thing is that the books are there and people can find them and use them.