I went today to visit to ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives in Los Angeles.
One thing he said is about 1/4 of the books on their shelves have yet to be cataloged as they only have 20 volunteers to run the whole thing. Thank Gerry King we don't have that problem.
We discussed succession planning and the man giving me the tour mentioned the lack of volunteering spirit in modern times. I suggested each person's job would have to be broken down, especially at first, and the work of a 20 year volunteer could perhaps be taken over by five or six new volunteers.
Their books are all organized by author or subject on books about someone. Fiction and non-fiction together. They are currently in the process of cleaning up the collection, they had been keeping every edition of every book and no longer have room to do so. So for example, the hardcover version is staying, the softcover is going. As they have partnered with the University, they give some books to them, some get sold at the archives, and some get sold online for which they receive a percentage of profits.
They have a separate space for exhibitions across town in West Hollywood so this is primarily a research centre. The man giving the tour advised they do keep lesbian material but that there is also a separate lesbian archives across town.
It was interesting to compare their archives to the CLGA. They had some great new ideas, for example a book was recently written using their material and the author hosted an event with actors reenacting scenes from the book and they charged $50 a head. I loved the gold brick idea, the items on display at the end of the racks, and a separate display with books written from their material, which I also thought was a great idea, showing the value of their organization. Also their partnership with the University has secured their long term future.
We discussed common problems, duplicate materials, aging of volunteers, lack of space as the amount of LGBT material has grown exponentially.
The CLGA is also doing several things correctly though, with a large active volunteer base, up to date cataloging and committees such as community engagement.
It was great to be able to talk with them and tour their facility and to be able to share ideas with a common goal.