February 10, 2012

Just finished reading Advice on Establishing a Library by Gabriel Naudé, written in 1627, it has some still very relevant advice. The page references are to the 1950 University of California Press edition.

While it is not every year that a king or poet is born, the same can be said of a librarian. (2)

“It must be said also that there is nothing more to the credit of a library than that every man finds in it what he seeks, having failed to find it elsewhere; since it may be laid down as a maxim that there is no book whatsoever, be it never so bad or disparaged, but may in time be sought for by some[.]” (17)

Open our libraries to receive those who have written on little-known subjects. Include the “trivial or unusual, interesting or neglected, difficult or easy, since one may” apply to books what is said of the uncommon, “Scare things give pleasure, and therefore we value first-fruits from the orchard.” quoting Martial, Book  IV, No. 29, 3-4 (25)

The value of books and the ideas they contain should not measured by age. Older should not be preferred or revered over newer and vice versa. (33, 40)

“A library will never be much benefited if that which is collected with so much pains and industry should be lost for want of care.” (47)

“We neglect nothing which is of any account and which may be of use either to ourselves or others.” Despising that which we see has trivial  may mean loosing rare collections of the most curious things in the library. (48)

Reduce the expense of binding and ornamentation, use the money to buy more books. Books do not cease to be useful without “splendid and sumptuous” appearance. (52)

It is not a library if the public are not allowed to “reap any benefit.” (74)

The title Librarian is honorable & noble. (76)

All things should be valued “according to the balance of benefit and use that may be derived from them,” this is particularly true of books which must be available for public use. (78)