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Public Collectors

Library Excavations #5: A Handbook of Library Ideas

2017
Paper cover with staple-bound binding
Color offset and three-color Risograph
32 pages
5 1/2" x 8 1/2"
Edition of 520

Library Excavations #5 is a complete reprint of a self-published booklet from 1977 titled A Handbook of Library Ideas by Dale E. Shaffer. After previous issues that were heavy on images, this one is all text with 156 ideas for libraries.

Shaffer writes, “The best ideas are the ideas that help people” and this handbook imagines a society where libraries deeply value and serve everyone in numerous imaginative ways. The desire to empower those who lack skills and resources, and to provide tools and information­—as well as creative opportunities for play—drew me to this wonderful booklet. Each entry begs its own longer publication about the idea’s execution and its results. While some suggestions could now be resolved with the internet or other technologies, many of the ideas feel more compelling than ever because they’d force us to revisit old ways of discovering and learning. At a time when millions of people are being cut off from many kinds of state support in the U.S., we need guides like this that propose more progressive and generous possibilities for all.

Dale E. Shaffer died in 2009 at the age of 80. He wrote many booklets consulting for libraries, as well as 28 books specifically on the history of Salem, Ohio. In 2012, a research library at the Salem Historical Society was dedicated in his honor.