Monday, April 23, 2007

Surveillance and control: Foucault sets up a village library?

FAVL co-director Kate Parry writes: It is important to give each member as well as each book a unique number and to record that number whenever anyone borrows a book; names alone won't do because many people give different versions of their names at different times. We give each book a simple accession number and write it on a label stuck on the front of the book. We also write the category of the book on the same label. By now we have about 30 categories, which is rather a lot, but it still seems to work (and when Valeda Dent, who's head of the reference section at the Hunter College library came to do research at Kitengesa she declared that it was a pretty good system!).

I may add that no discussions are more heated among librarians than the issue of how to organize books in a small village library staffed by local “level high-school or less” librarians (as opposed to librarians trained in library colleges, who are not available for hire in any case in a small remote village!). No flaming on the FAVL blogsite please! (And that applies especially to certain law librarians of my acquaintance…)