National Library Week: Services for researchers

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

book scanner
The book scanner used to scan articles, catalog pages, and book sections for library patrons.

The APRL’s primary users are members of the American Philatelic Society, the majority of whom cannot easily travel to Bellefonte to use the library in person.

How do we provide library services to people all over the world? By mail, fax, and email!

Our services web page lists available options. Book borrowing by mail is available to APS and APRL members in the U.S. and Canada. Others can access our collections through interlibrary loan. We provide photocopies and scans of articles and book sections to anyone – APS and APRL members get a lower price.

To learn more about our collections, search our online catalog, or read more about our collections on our website.

National Library Week: Philatelic Librarians Roundtable

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

The Philatelic Union Catalog, a collection of records from philatelic libraries in North America plus the Royal Philatelic Society London’s library, is just one way the APRL works with the community of philatelic libraries.

The Philatelic Librarians Roundtable includes philatelic library staff, board members, volunteers, and other interested parties. Initially, the group met occasionally in person and communicated using a Google Group. Now, the group meets every other month by conference call, and uses the Google Group to communicate by email in between calls and to share want lists, duplicates, and other documents. If you are interested in joining the group, contact me.

The group also meets every summer at APS StampShow. If you’ll be at StampShow in Milwaukee this August 8-11 and have an interest in philatelic libraries, come to the meeting.

The group helps to coordinate the Philatelic Union Catalog and facilitates the exchange of duplicate materials. It also serves as a forum to discuss issues facing philatelic libraries and projects. As many libraries embark on digitization and indexing projects, sharing progress with the group can help everyone avoid duplication of effort and get early feedback.

National Library Week: The Philatelic Union Catalog

Philatelic Union Catalog

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

Most of the people who use the American Philatelic Research Library do so from a distance, and the primary access point is our online catalog.

The catalog serves as the Philatelic Union Catalog includes several collections of records:

APRL holdings, including books, journals, auction catalogs for name sales, government documents, copies of exhibits, and more. To search these holdings, select APRL from the drop down box at the bottom of the search screen.

What you won’t find in these records: individual journal articles, stamp show programs, price lists, and non-name sale auction catalogs (though we are starting to add records for each auction house with a summary of our holdings). You will find some records for archives and special collections, though these are not yet complete.

The Philatelic Union Catalog, including records from major philatelic libraries in North America, plus the holdings of the Royal Philatelic Society London’s library. The kinds of records included from each library and accessibility vary by collection. For more information, see the list of participating libraries. Though not all of these libraries lend material, many can help with locating difficult to find books and journals, and sometimes it is helpful just to know a book exists. To search the union catalog, select All libraries and indexes from the drop down box at the bottom of the search screen, or select the location code for an individual library.

When searching the union catalog, take note of the location code in each record. If multiple libraries have a book, you will see a record for each library. Keep in mind that not all libraries have contributed records for journals, auction catalogs, and other “non-book” items in their collections.

The philatelic article index includes thousands of records for articles in philatelic journals, magazines, newspapers, and even stamp show programs. The majority of these were contributed by Gene Fricks, and additional records have been added by the Postal History Foundation, APRL staff, and other volunteers. To search for articles, select All libraries and indexes from the drop down box at the bottom of the search screen and type article in the Record Type box.

The article index does not include a location code. To find out if the APRL has the journal issue containing the article, search the catalog for the journal title and look at the detailed information in the full record display. Despite its size, this index is far from comprehensive. Many journals have their own indexes (either print or online) and the Royal Philatelic Society London’s catalog includes additional journal indexes.

APRL Basic Catalog TutorialFor more help on searching the catalog, check out our YouTube video. This is the first in a series – if you have questions about searching the catalog, let me know and they may be the topic for future videos!

As always, if you don’t find what you are looking for, contact us at or 814-933-3803. We can help you search, and tell you about materials not listed in the catalog.

APRL celebrates National Library Week 2013

Communities matter @ your library: celebrate National Library Week April 14-20

APRLThe American Philatelic Research Library joins libraries in schools, campuses, and communities nationwide in celebrating National Library Week April 14–20. This week is a time to highlight the value of libraries, librarians, and library workers.

Libraries today are more than repositories for books and other resources. Though the people who use the APRL live all over the country and around the world, the APRL serves as a common place for stamp collectors, postal historians, and anyone researching stamps and the mail.

Read the full press release on the APS website for more, and check back at this blog each day April 14-20 for a new post about how communities matter at the APRL!