National Library Week: Society libraries

This is the fourth in a series of daily posts about how the American Philatelic Research Library serves the philatelic community as we celebrate National Library Week.

American Helvetia Philatelic Society
Rudy Keller, Bruce Marsden, and Ernie Bergman of the American Helvetia Philatelic Society visit the APRL

In Monday’s post, I talked about how the APRL facilitates cooperation among philatelic libraries. The APRL has also developed mutually beneficial relationships over the years with many specialty societies. These relationships often include an exchange with our journal, the Philatelic Literature Review, donations of publications, and sometimes even the donation of an entire library or society archives.

These relationships helps us build our collection in specialized areas and promote specialty societies. When a collector begins to specialize and needs a more specific reference than the Scott Catalogue, they often turn to the APRL for specialized catalogs or articles from society journals. This may be their first introduction to a society.

The societies that have donated their libraries, or portions thereof, to the APRL include: American Air Mail Society, American Helvetia Philatelic Society, American Revenue Association, British North America Philatelic Society, Columbia-Panama Philatelic Study Group, New York Estonian Philatelic Society, Polonus Philatelic Society (coming soon), Postal History Society, and War Cover Club. The APRL also houses the archives of a number of societies, including the American First Day Cover Society, Confederate Stamp Alliance,  State Revenue Society, and U.S. Philatelic Classics Society. These donations come at a time when the society has determined it is no longer able or willing to maintain an independent library or archives. Depositing material at the APRL ensures long-term preservation of and access to the material.

For societies wishing to continue to operate an independent library, joining the Philatelic Union Catalog can be a way to help more researchers discover their library. The Scandinavian Collectors Club library, housed at the Rocky Mountain Philatelic Library in Denver, has already begun contributing records to the union catalog, and we are working with other societies.