Ask the ALA Library

Cost Finding

Q. We've been asked to find out if it costs our library more or less than average to catalog a book.  But what is the average cost?

Literary Landmarks

Q.  We were in Hannibal, Missouri on a recent spring driving trip and visited the Mark Twain Boyhood Home & Museum.  I noted that it is a "Literary Landmark."  What is this designation?

Bar Codes in Libraries

Question: Is there a standard library barcode identification system?

Award-winning Libraries

Q. Our library is beginning to think about a major addition.  I recall that the ALA gives an award for library buildings.  I'd like to plan a cross-country trip so that I could see some of these.  How can I get a list of these libraries?

War Service Library book

Q. Today I was going through some books donated to our book sale and ran across one with a bookplate stating "War Service Library" with a picture of a WW I Soldier carrying a stack of books.  This plate was found in a 1918 book.  What is the story behind this bookplate?

A.  The bookplate -- sometimes a label or a stamp with the words "American Library Association, Soldiers and Sailors Camp Library"-- is one of several versions affixed to books furnished to sailors and soldiers by the American Library Association during World War I.

Mobile accessible library websites

Question: We'd like to make our website available to patrons that have "smartphones".  Do you have any resources to help us?

Book Groups

Q. A new resident inquired whether our library had any book clubs.  The library in the town she moved from supports several and she had found hers to be a congenial way to explore books and reading.  What's involved in starting one?

Value of Old Books

Q.  One of our regular library visitors is clearing the attic of the family home now that her parents are deceased.  Where can I direct her to learn more about the value of these books?

Oldest University Library

Question: What is the oldest university library?

Moving a Library

Question:  My library will be moving into a new building next year. The building design work is completed, and construction underway, but we haven’t begun to discuss how we will accomplish the move of our collections. Does ALA have any resources that might help?


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