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A holiday wishlist

Ever wonder what librarians wish for the holidays? Do visions of bookcarts dance in our heads on Christmas Eve? Well, not quite. We polled our staff to see what the ultimate gift would be for their offices and collections and here’s what they said.

At the National Zoological Park Library, an unconventional request:

The Librarian for the National Zoo, Kristen Bullard, is in the unique situation of not working in a physical library.  This model called embedded librarianship requires a lot of creativity and imagination for reaching her users for circulating books, having research consultations, and attending meetings.  Kristen’s tag line “Bringing the Smithsonian Libraries to YOU!” reflects her way of addressing the geographically dispersed nature of the National Zoo staff.

Unfortunately, carrying heavy books, a laptop, and sometimes a projector across 163 acres (!) isn’t very easy and includes having to navigate a steep dirt trail on every trip.  So, on her holiday wishlist Kristen dreams of a golf cart (new or gently used) to better reach the National Zoo staff and volunteers.  She imagines painting it to look like a bookmobile and securing a waterproof, lockable trunk on the back.  A 3G wireless network connection and a way to mount her laptop to have research consultations while seated in the golfcart would be a bonus.

A simple, but vitally important wish from Cataloging Services’ Sheila Riley:

Staff. (Or at least magic elves.)

For the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden Library, Anna Brooke says:

My wish is to find a donor to establish an endowment to support the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden Library. With the help of funds from an endowment, I could purchase much needed acquisitions like Brice Marden, Phaidon Press, 2013, Chris Burden: Extreme Measures, New Museum, 2013 and “How To” books for the teen program in the Museum’s Art Lab and catalog my backlog of 200 Latin American exhibition catalogues. Interested in supporting the Hirshhorn Library? Contact Tina Muracco at or (202) 633-2875.

For the Joseph F. Cullman 3rd Library of Natural History, rare-books curator Leslie Overstreet would love a specific volume:

Belon, Pierre.  L’histoire de la nature des Oyseaux, avec leurs descriptions, & naifs portraicts retirez du naturelParis, 1555.

This is the first great bird book of the Renaissance.  Naturalist Pierre Belon (1517?-1564) attempted to match the names of birds used by Aristotle and Pliny with those current in 16th-century France and introduced a systematic approach to the study of birds based on direct observation of physical characteristics, habitat, and anatomy.  Among its 160+ woodcut illustrations the book includes a famous image comparing the skeleton of a bird (standing with wings spread) to that of humans, the earliest known example of comparative anatomy in scientific literature. The book is not held by any library in the D.C. area. There are two copies currently in the market: $48,000, and $91,000 (hand-colored)

Baasil Wilder, librarian at the National Postal Museum Library, would request:

A printed description of the De La Rue Collection of philately, a collection of correspondence, day books and designs from the stamp makers De La Rue, currently held by the British Postal Museum and Archive. The work is currently being compiled by Frank Walton, vice president of the Royal Philatelic Society London, and is estimated that it will be priced at £480 ($785 USD) per set.

Finally, Ann Juneau, head of the National Museum of Natural History Library got very creative with her wishlist:

1. One Natural and Physical Sciences Department Head clone
2. One drone book retriever for the Anthropology Library tall stacks
3. One small helicopter for transportation between Natural History and the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute at Front Royal, VA
4. 6 avatars to complement our great collections care and information teams
5. A dedicated 9am to 5pm SUPER TECH NINJA to run all the bells and whistles in the Main Library training Rooms
6. And a partridge and pear for our Yuletide tree.

Big or small, may all your wishes come true this season!

Happy Holidays from the Smithsonian Libraries!


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