Meeting the Needs of Special Format Catalogers: Ideas for Professional Organizations

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Catalogers are essential for cataloging and classification of resources in library catalogs to create a resource discovery tool to aid users in their research and public service librarians to assist users. The number of catalogers in libraries has declined in past decades; and many more are on the cusp of retirement, resulting in an impending loss of collective history. Previous literature addressed catalogers in general, the training and recruitment of catalogers, and the expected retirements of librarians in general. The purpose of this study is to assess the specific needs of nonprint or special format catalogers in relation to education, training, and mentorship. A voluntary online survey conducted in 2004 asked questions about special format catalogers' current work, involvement in professional organizations, source of their training, their opinions of library school education, and demographic questions. The survey results indicate nearly half of all special format catalogers will retire within fifteen years, and the majority have had special format cataloging added to their workflow over time. Memberships in professional organizations are low, but one-third hold some sort of office in an organization. Special format catalogers are interested in more training and felt that library schools do not offer enough training. Ideas dealing with cooperative professional development among special format catalogers, professional organizations, and library schools are proposed based on the survey results.


Library Services

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Cataloging & Classification Quarterly