Sunday, July 11, 2010

Kodiak Library's Alaska Reference Room

Kodiak, Alaska

Link to July 11 San Jose Mercury News article, "Kodiak library's collection is museum-caliber".

Excerpt: Tucked behind the circulation desk at the A. Holmes Johnson Memorial Library, the Alaska Reference Room is not the most visible historical landmark in Kodiak, but it is a local museum in its own right.

Library director Joe D'Elia and assistant supervisor Lisa Booch took the Kodiak Daily Mirror on a tour of the collection recently.

The Alaska Reference Room holds 2,945 titles in a small room of bookcases surrounding a conference table. It is not hard to believe the room used to be a car park for the library until it was remodeled in 1993.

Heavy wooden blinds block sunlight, which D'Elia called the worst enemy of books. He hopes a new library will have an Alaska Reference Room with controlled humidity.

"It's too bad, books are so sensitive," he said. "You want to keep them forever, but they're very delicate."

Some of the books in the collection go back at least as far as the 1830s. Most of the books are in good condition, but a few damaged titles sit on the bookshelves in book-sized cardboard boxes.

The room is the only source of information for many books about Kodiak. The collection grows every year as the library tries to buy two copies of any new book published about Kodiak

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