Sunday, May 15, 2016


The Real X-Files: Archiving the Unexplained

This was an article from an issue ALA Magazine. I was really inspired to write about this article after I saw an article that, I believe it was Evan, posted. He posted an article about cataloging toys and games and circulating them. This is a little different, but I saw a connection between the two...

This article came out just around the time that the newest season of the X-Files started. Of course, at that point in time I was watching all the old episodes in preparation for the new release. A library in Sweden collects items that are bizarre and out of the ordinary. Most of the items have something to do with extraterrestrials or the unexplained. The tiny library, founded in 1973, began as a single bookshelf. Over the years, thanks to donations and collecting, the library houses 30,000 volumes. It is currently the “largest repository devoted to controversial topics” (ALA, 2016). It is now used by people from countries all over the world.

Now, there is an obvious difference between cataloging toys and cataloging alien UFOs, but the point is that libraries are shifting gears towards popular interests. I also thought it was interesting that one library could have an emphasis collection as the entirety of their collection. As a public library, I am used to seeing materials that are reliable and provide the most general overview of a small, specific emphasis collection. Not long before I read this article, we had discussed general and specific emphasis collections. As a public librarian, I would view this small collection as a VERY specific emphasis collection. I would be interested to learn how those who work in special libraries feel about this collection. Do you think you would consider it a specific emphasis collection, even though it is housed in its own location? Or do you think that if a collection is moved to its own building or room, it becomes the core collection and then each smaller topic becomes a specific emphasis collection? I also highly recommend the article as a fun read.

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