Irene Axelrod, Head Research Librarian, and Catherine Robertson, Library Reading Room Assistant, wrote the following post about research guides available in the Reading Room.
According to our website, “The Phillips Library collections include approximately 400,000 books, pamphlets, and broadsides; over 2,000 collections of Essex County, Massachusetts, manuscripts, including family papers, institutional and business records, account books, and diaries; and extensive holdings of maps and ephemera.” The sheer quantity of material in our holdings can be overwhelming for researchers of all levels of experience. The Reference and Research staff at the Phillips Library have years of experience working with the astounding materials in our collections and facilitate use of the collections for all patrons.
The Peabody Essex Museum has its origins in the East India Marine Society. In 1799, twenty Salem, Massachusetts ship captains and supercargoes that had sailed around the Cape of Good Hope or Cape Horn formed a society and one of the stipulations for membership was that they keep a log of their journey, recording wind, weather, ship sightings, and other points of interest. The Phillips Library now owns almost 3,000 of these ship logs, dating from 1748 to the mid-1900s.
People have been asking us at the Phillips Library what has been happening in the library this past year. I will tell you that there has been a lot of activity behind the scenes.
As most of you know we had been preparing the collections for a move to a temporary facility to allow our building to be renovated. Inventory of all collections has been completed. Library collections that have not been cataloged are cataloged. All our collections that are card cataloged in the reading room are being converted to MARC format and currently being added into our online catalog, PHILCAT. And last month we moved the entire collection into our temporary facility.