Friday, June 12, 2009

searching for residential-school memories

My office sits right next to the shelves that hold our circulating collection of deaf school yearbooks. It always amazes me how regularly -- every day, at least -- I walk past, look at the round table between my office and the shelves, and see a pile or two of yearbooks.

This, I think, is one of the most popular parts of our collection (aside from the movies), so we'll talk about them a little bit today, as well as our deaf-related microforms.

First: Yes, we do collect yearbooks from residential schools all over the country. As part of the Deaf Collection, these yearbooks play an important role in preserving the continuity of deaf culture, so we try to get our hands on as many of them as possible.

Second: Yes, if you go to the shelves, you will likely find the year you're looking for at the school you're looking for. However, the collection isn't 100% complete for various reasons; still, if you check ALADIN for "deaf school yearbooks," you'll get lucky more often than not. If you can't find what you're looking for, there may be a copy available in our Deaf Copy 1 room -- just ask a librarian for help.

Third: Yes, this is where we keep Gallaudet's Tower Clock. The linked ALADIN Catalog page shows all the copies of all the years we own.

Fourth: No, the yearbooks are not arranged alphabetically by state. The call numbers all look like 370.97xx -- 370 for deaf schools, then .97 means "in the United States." The last two digits get even more specific, down to the region of the country and then the state. For a rough idea of how to find the state you're looking for, here's how it goes:
  • 370.974x: Northeast United States, south to New Jersey and west to Pennsylvania
  • 370.975x: Southeast United States, Delaware on down to Florida, and west to Alabama
  • 370.976x: South Central United States, Kentucky south to Alabama and west to Texas and Oklahoma
  • 370.977x: North Central United States, otherwise known as the "Great Lake States" -- Ohio west to Missouri and north through Michigan and Wisconsin
  • 370.978x: Western United States, from Kansas to New Mexico and north to Montana
  • 370.979x: The Pacific States, from Arizona in the south to Alaska in the north, and off to Hawaii in the west
The deaf school yearbooks aren't the only residential-school memorabilia in the Library, though. A significant percentage of our deaf-related microforms in the Deaf Periodicals is made up of residential school newsletters, most of which you can find by searching for "little paper family" (why this phrase? Check out our FAQ page about it). You can find these in the bright orange cabinets behind the maps, next to the Deaf Periodicals (where we also keep more recent print copies of some residential school newsletters). These microforms are excellent for research into deaf residential life and history, especially the older newsletters from before ASL and bilingualism became as accepted in deaf education as they are today.

They are all arranged alphabetically by name in the microfilm cabinets. It's easy to pull a drawer out and scan the labels of the boxes containing each reel.

We also keep copies of deaf-related dissertations published all over the country. Many are available in print and spread out among the books in the Deaf Stacks, but nearly all are also available in microfilm near the deaf school newsletters. All of this can be found in the ALADIN Catalog -- just look for a note saying "microfilm cabinet" or something similar. Many of these dissertations are also available electronically through the ALADIN database Dissertations and Theses.

As I've mentioned before, all microforms require a special reading machine to operate, three of which live on the first floor of the Library. If you're not sure how to set up a reel of microfilm, feel free to ask a librarian for help -- we're old hands!

Question of the Week
I was sitting at one of the computers on the first floor and looking up at the glass roof. It's really nice, but I was wondering why you have those cloths over them like a tent.
We're big fans of Arabian Nights. No, just kidding. Actually, there's a great reason for the sails (that's what I call them, everyone has different names for them) under the glass: shade. One of the biggest advantages of having such a nice glass roof is all the sunlight. One of the biggest disadvantages of having such a nice glass roof ... is all the sunlight. On a gorgeous day (like today! finally), it's hard to see much in all that light. I also personally suspect a bit of a greenhouse effect in operation -- all that solar radiation gets trapped in here and makes the air conditioning work harder to keep the building cool. The sails serve a very useful function and they let us enjoy some natural light here in the middle of the first floor.

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