In addition to its continuous work of serving all members and approximately 220 visitors per week, acquiring new titles to add to its 105,000 volumes and 700 periodicals, and further developing its digital resources, the Blegen Library has also been engaged in special projects as of late.
The Library Reorganization Committee will soon bring to a conclusion a year-long study of how best to equip the books in our collections with radio frequency identification (RFID) tags for security and tracking, how to prepare the data for Library of Congress reclassification, and how to coordinate what will ultimately comprise three different classification systems. The creation of open stacks in the Gennadius Library once the West Wing is complete has provided this opportunity to employ a more sophisticated tracking system in both the Gennadius and Blegen Libraries. Interns, hired to clean the data in Ambrosia and add the item records of the periodicals and archival collections to the database in preparation, have made excellent headway thus far. Staff and users alike are excited about what this change will mean for facilitating research.
Another project made possible with the help of bright young interns – this time from the Democritus University of Thrace, in Northern Greece – is compiling a comprehensive file of Greek (and some international) newspaper articles related to archaeology, from announcements of excavation finds to analyses of Ministry of Culture politics. The students are bringing their passion for history (both its discovery through archaeology and its recording in modern newspapers) and native fluency in modern Greek to the task of sorting through a collection of clippings dating from the late 1970s. These physical copies were mailed to the Blegen Library and other premier research centers before the bigger papers placed their archives online. The students are arranging the clippings topographically for improved accessibility, while a long-term goal of the Library is digitizing them for online availability. Maria Tourna, Senior Librarian in Charge of the Blegen Library, comments, “I consider these articles – especially those from smaller papers whose archives are not available online – to be valuable, as some of this information could not be found anywhere else back then, and it would take years before archaeological finds could be published in the Ministry's scholarly journal.” The Blegen Library has been pleased to collaborate with Dr. Andrew Farrington, Professor of the Department of History and Ethnology of Democritus University of Thrace, to offer two of his top students this internship experience, for which they each volunteer for a total of 40 hours (2 weeks).
The ASCSA welcomed Collection Development Librarian Andrea Guzzetti to the Blegen Library team in June. In his new position, Dr. Guzzeti selects and acquires monographs, performs initial checks on publications received as gifts or exchanges, maintains close relationships with book vendors and exchange partners, and processes user feedback, keeping all of this information up to date in the database. He earned a degree in Classics from the Università degli Studi di Bologna in 1998, and completed a graduate program in Classical Archaeology at the same institution in 2002. He holds an M.A. (2006) and PhD (2012) in Classical and Near Eastern Archaeology from Bryn Mawr College, and did the ASCSA Regular program in 2007-2008. Dr. Guzzetti took part in six campaigns of the Mitrou Archaeological Project (an ASCSA-affiliated excavation), and is currently enrolled in an MLIS program offered by San José Universtity, which he expects to complete in 2016. He speaks Italian, English, Greek, and a little French and German. (Biographical profiles of each of our staff can be found here.)
The Blegen Library’s facebook page, launched in May 2014, already has 725 likes, and is an excellent way of staying apprised of new online resources and material, changes in library hours for holidays, and general Blegen Library news. Members who know the present library surroundings all too well enjoy the page’s black and white photos of the Blegen during its initial years, before it developed into the best research library in the country and one of the world’s most complete collections for research in the civilization of ancient Greece.