Library collection development can be a complex process. As a rule, unless yours is a legal deposit repository, some manner of selection has to take place. Every institution has constraints of space and budget which require limits to be set. A library chooses particular areas in which to collect and holds to those, in order to keep the collection germane to its mission. For the Phillips, a library with a long and tangled history, that mission has not remained constant, and so our collecting interests have shifted.
Though Halloween may be in the streets surrounding the museum in Salem, at the Phillips Library Reading Room in Peabody we have already skipped forward to Thanksgiving. For this fall’s display in the reading room, I am highlighting materials written about the earliest days of our nation’s founding. Read more
Recently, when I was searching the shelves for the latest reading room display of Summer Reading Books, I discovered several volumes of Walt Whitman poetry. Two of the original owners of our books on Whitman lived in the late 1800s. A side-by-side comparison of these owners’ copies shows that they had vastly different experiences with Whitman’s poems. The first reader physically removed dozens of pages from his own book, and the second went out of her way to republish and promote the poet’s work. Read more