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TEAMYAKIMA

Reference Libraries - Do clubs still have them?

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Back in the day -  1970's?  - I stood up at my club's AGM and suggested we started a Club Library.

 

I have always been a huge champion of our club library and supervised a major upgrade in 2003/4 replacing 'pretty picture' books about trains with real reference books.

 

I no longer attend club regularly but I am told that the library is semi-dead now and there have been suggestions that we get rid of it.

 

I was shocked to hear a few years back that a neighbouring club had sold off its library but that now seems a possibility with my club.

 

So what is the general view?  It seems to me that if my/any club library is not popular you have two choices

 

1. Really promote it within the club - book reviews in the club newsletter etc

 

2. Get rid of it and use the money/space for something more useful in the 21st century

 

Thoughts?

 

 

Edited by TEAMYAKIMA
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our club has a little library its only about 5x7ft but all four walls are full of books and magazines. and still buying  a few new books each year. its used regularly by the membership not just for reading the monthy mags but for referencing the books and back issues.

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The Model Railway Club in London has a good reference library, with large numbers of books and back editions of magazines going back many decades.

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Our club has a fairly extensive collection of magazines and books (including some magazines from the 1920s), but these have largely been donations: books and magazine collections that the club has inherited when former members have passed away or sometimes when someone has been clearing a house and they donate a box of 'railway things' to us rather than sending them to landfill or the local charity shop.  The club haven't invested in new books, certainly not during my time in the club.  Whilst some of the books are sometimes referred to by some of the members, I wouldn't say that our 'library' was 'well used'.  From a personal perspective, I don't find many of the books to be of interest simply because I'm largely interested in the post-privatisation era, which means that I'm not going to find any details of DRS traction in a magazine from the 1920s or in a book about the modern railway that was published in 1985.

 

I'd find our club library more interesting if the contents were better aligned with my own interests, but the problem with the club, is that we have members with a diverse range of interests.  Mine lie at the 'modern' end of the spectrum, whilst one of our other members is modelling the Edwardian era.  Another member is interested in Swiss and German railways and it wouldn't be a good use of club funds to buy books that may be of interest to just one or two members.

 

The future of our club is a little uncertain at the moment, as our club room was sold in 2018 and we know that our new landlord bought the premises with the intention of redeveloping the site.  If we end up moving to smaller premises, then the 'library' may be something that ultimately has to go to landfill (minus the books that some members may actually want to keep).

Edited by Dungrange

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Maidenhead club had a substantial magazine library (RMs, MRCs, even US and German mags), and had begun a programme to reduce space by removing ads from the old RMs) but then an enforced change of clubhouse into shared accommodation required a more drastic reduction in space. So the bulk of the mags went, only the more specialist mags (MRJs and similar were retained). Members were given first pick of the rest before it was disposed of.

 

We did retain most the the books, just the generic 'coffee table' books were let go. 

 

Between the club's membership we do  have a wide range of interests and personal libraries to suit and lending between members is probably higher than usage of the club library. 

 

I think the rise of the Internet, digitisation of back issues, etc means a permanent physical library is no longer the 'must have' asset for a club nowadays. 

 

Might that be an option for your club, either split the library amond the membership or digitise it and have a facility to share or print articles as required. The modern document scanners will make pretty short order of a magazine collection. 

Edited by CloggyDog

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this is something that im currently thinking about as librarian which i have only taken over in less than a year ago, as our library mostly covers british standard gauge with sections for the big four and their constituents, a few for industrial and light, with some for british narrow gauge and some modelling books like brass kits, scratchbuilding, coaches, buildings, trees or wiring. There is a small section for the US, there isnt anything for say south america, africa, australia or europe which i would want to fill that gap as i have an interest in every gauge in every country but i must consider the merit of buying a book for only 1 or 2 people to ever read it. Of course you cant cater for everybody's own niche interests which would be too expensive. another factor is that the shelves will be full in a few years time with current intake of magazines and books which is making  me feel even more picky to prioritise books for the remaining space

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The club in Hull has a good one in a sort of 'rest room' IIRC. Only been there a couple of times just to visit but it s a good place.

Phil

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As the librarian of the Ebor (York) Group of Railway Modellers I am pleased to say that as part of our move of premises priority has been given to housing the library. It now has a good size room lined with shelves. It is also well used partially,  it has to be admitted, because it is cooler than the main layout room during the summer. :P

 

We now have going on for 700 books as well as a considerable collection of magazines from the past right up to the present day. I have an allowance for purchasing new books but, as "Dungrange" mentioned, we have acquired many both books and current magazines from inheritance and donation. I inherited a general rule that we wouldn't buy books on locomotives and would buy more associated with North East England. However, the former is now difficult to notice as the inheritances have added many locomotive related books. And being in York the local Oxfam bookshop does tend to acquire some interesting railway books - I purchased most of the Wild Swan LMS Locoshed books for not a lot!

 

Yes, we find a library useful. Now to sort out the duplicates in a considerable inheritance for sale.

 

Paul

https://yorkeborgroup.simdif.com/

Edited by hmrspaul

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Our club, Leamington & Warwick MRS, has a massive and growing library of books and magazines.

Perhaps if you are so worried about the library, re-join the club, look after it and encourage others to use it?

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i spent many years refining my old model railway clubs library . after i moved away it was sold to finance the clubs move . so all for the good i guess but what a loss .... ... .. .couldn't replace it now !

 

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My local club as no book's or mags.  They say it take's to mutch room up to keep them . So they go in the rubbish bin if nobody takes them home .

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1 hour ago, crompton 33 said:

My local club as no book's or mags.  They say it take's to mutch room up to keep them . So they go in the rubbish bin if nobody takes them home .

 

As the originator of this topic I must admit that my club has never stored magazines in the library, Back in the day it was mainly picture books, coffee table books, then later a gradual move to reference books.  Obviously in a club like the MRC the library is very much part of its appeal but for the average local club? I  really don't know.

 

Part of me tells me that I should volunteer to be librarian and REALLY push it each week , the other part of me tells me that it's time to throw in the towel.

 

Paul

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11 minutes ago, TEAMYAKIMA said:

Part of me tells me that I should volunteer to be librarian and REALLY push it each week

 

If you don't, it will be too late. Librarian is one of those difficult posts to fill, it's not essential, but if someone doesn't do it, eventually the library gets into such a mess that members vote to dump it rather than tidy up after themselves.

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On 01/09/2019 at 11:25, jamespetts said:

The Model Railway Club in London has a good reference library, with large numbers of books and back editions of magazines going back many decades.

Many decades indeed, some of the books and magazines have publication dates which predate the Club's founding in 1910.

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19 hours ago, Phil Parker said:

 

If you don't, it will be too late. Librarian is one of those difficult posts to fill, it's not essential, but if someone doesn't do it, eventually the library gets into such a mess that members vote to dump it rather than tidy up after themselves.

 

i dont think i could imagine such a sight as books and magazines being mistreated, our library is always tidy since its a cosy reading space and everybody respects the space and tidys up after themselves, my job as librarian is really easy, basically bring in the new mags each month as they are posted to my house, buy any books that i think are worth it, sort books and magazines to sell on the stand at our exhibition and basically just look after the library

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Our club has a selection of books that have been donated to us, we do not have a great deal of space in which to keep an overly extensive collection.  However I did recommend that the club purchase some of the Wild Swan books on scenic & plastic kits, which have been well used.  As for magazines, the club itself does not order them, but members will bring down various titles on club nights.

 

Colin

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