A Library Primer (1899)/Chapter XIX

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A Library Primer by John Cotton Dana
Chapter XIX, Accessioning

A careful record should be made of all books received. Use for this purpose what is called an accession book. This is a blank book, ruled and lettered and numbered especially for library invoices. (See the Library Bureau catalog.) It is the library's chief record, and should contain a complete history of every volume on its shelves. The items entered in the accession book concerning every volume in the library are commonly the following: date of entry; accession number; class number (religion, sociology, etc.); author; title; place of publication and name of publisher; date of publication; binding (cloth, leather, etc.); size (octavo, quarto, etc.); number of pages; name of dealer from whom purchased; cost; remarks (maps, plates, etc.; books rebound; magazines, etc.; lost, worn out, replaced by another book, etc.).

A Library Primer illustration leftpage.jpg
Accession book, left-hand page. (Reduced size.)
A Library Primer illustration rightpage.jpg
Accession book, right-hand page. (Reduced size.)

Each book and each volume of a set has a separate accession number and a separate entry. Each entry occupies a line; each line is numbered from one up to such a number as the library has volumes. The number of each line, called the accession number, is written on the first page after the title-page of the book described on that line. The accession book is a life history of every book in the library. It forms such a record as any business-like person would wish to have of property entrusted to his care. It is also a catalog of all books in the library, and a useful catalog as long as the library is small. Never use an old accession number for a new book, even though the original book has disappeared from the library.

Record should be made of all books, pamphlets, reports, bulletins, magazines, etc., received by the library as gifts; and every gift should be promptly and courteously acknowledged in writing, even if previously acknowledged in person. Keep this record in a blank book, alphabetizing all gifts by the names of the givers, with dates of receipt. Books given should appear on the accession register the same as books purchased.