Protecting the collections and Serving the patrons!

As a librarian for Latin American collections, I tend to shelf-read, I tend to walk the stacks and I am curious about what constitutes the collection that I am empowered to manage. The collections in Doe Library that we have are open to our scholars, students, and visitors with a special pass and others. There are many “medium-rare” books that most of the large academic libraries in the United States have in their collections, and many of these libraries have open stacks system. The question then arises, what are my duties as a librarian when it comes to protecting these artifacts? The question becomes extremely important when the book as an object has already been digitized and can be accessed online by multiple users. What kind of relationship, I must have with these “legacy” objects? Some of these books have been already protected at our remote storage, but these still can circulate and get potentially lost, stolen, vandalized, etc.

Today, I want to present our readers with two such books. One sits in our stacks waiting for someone to check the book out. The other sits “protected” at the NRLF.

The first book is”Álbum de la coronación de la Sma. Virgen de Guadalupe … Guia histórica-descriptiva de Guadalupe Hidalgo, para uso de los peregrinos y de los viajeros. Edición de “El Tiempo”. The book was published in 1895-1896 and has been digitized by Hathi Trust. The book can be accessed digitally here. I was able to page it from our storage to see its condition. See my photos below. Please click on the icon to get access to some of the photos that I took this afternoon. The book was priced at about $2,000 here by one of the online vendors. While this is not a firm price, it shows that the book is valuable and expensive. The decision was very logical. Yes, I should serve by offering the Hathi Trust version as needed to anyone and then making the books with restricted circulation status.

The second books about Portuguese experiences in Goa. It is not technically the book that belongs to my curatorial responsibilities: Primeiro roteiro da costa da India; desde Goa até Dio: narrando a viagem que fez o vice-rei. It was printed in Porto (Portugal) in 1843. It has been digitized here. What shall be my strategy to preserve this copy? Any thoughts? I will of course consult with my colleagues here who have been nothing but welcoming and helpful.