As I’ve come to learn working here during the last two years, the American Philatelic Research Library is a remarkable resource masterfully marshaled by a small, highly talented team of professionals with remarkable skills. APRL Technical Services Coordinator Betsy Gamble has untangled the most complicated bibliographic questions for me. Reference Assistant Scott Tiffney tackles complex, esoteric queries each day with a confidence born of long experience and a familiarity with what’s available and how to seek it out. And Librarian Tara Murray, as Director of Information Services, brings special expertise to the task of overseeing and organizing the vast array of components to serve our many patrons across America and far beyond as efficiently and helpfully as possible, aided both by the staff and the volunteers who give generously of their time.
I have none of the talents of these fine people, but am best regarded as a lowly scrivener, with a knowledge of philately that is six inches deep and three miles wide. I have written for Linn’s Stamp News, Stamp Collector, Scott Stamp Monthly, and sundry other publications, and have both taken courses from and taught courses for the APS, which I joined 30 years ago. I have had a serious interest in philatelic literature since I worked for a Michigan stamp auction firm that specialized in selling and reprinting handbooks back in 1986.
What interests me are the aspects of the stamp hobby and its vast literature that aren’t readily covered elsewhere: the many nooks and crannies where history and philately overlap and connect, and those questions we receive from APS members and APRL patrons that don’t have obvious or ready-made answers. These fascinate me, and I hope to shine some light on them in a helpful way that you, too, will find interesting, here in the PLR blog.