The Navy Department Library, Op-293, made every effort in 1956 to fulfill its mission, and to perform its designated functions.
Mission - To maintain a special library to serve the needs of the Navy Department.
Function - To select, acquire, catalog and make available library materials on naval and allied subjects primarily for the official naval and Department of Defense use in the Washington area, but also for other government agencies and for students and researchers in naval history.
The following statistics for the calendar year 1956 provide some idea of the work performed by the library staff. The many thousands of telephone calls received in the library over the year pertaining to circulation (requests, renewals, etc.) are not listed.
These statistics mean little unless there is a realization of the many time consuming tasks which are necessary before any transaction is completed. Circulation, for instance, includes more than stamping a book out and receiving it back into the collection. The patron in many cases, asks for something on a certain subject and must be assisted as to the proper title which is apt to provide the better information. If the book is not returned on time, he must be checked by telephone or letter. Very often a book is improperly asked for and there is a problem of identification. This is especially true in the interlibrary loan function. Each one of the statistics listed above include similar tasks, which to describe in detail, would be too long for a report of this type.
In October 1956, a security room was constructed of expanded metal at the rear of the library and the Rare Book Collection of the Navy Department Library
was removed from the custody of the Library of Congress, where it had been for several years, and moved into this prepared area. During this same period, six double ranges of stacks were moved forward (575 shelves) and approximately 13,000 books were shifted. The reading area was re-located. The illuminating system was altered to provide more adequate lighting.
Although the library prepares little for distribution or publication, the following items should be mentioned:
The Librarian assisted in preparation of the basic list of books which was published by the Naval History Division in 1956 as A Selected and annotated bibliography on United States Naval History, etc.
The library issues at monthly or bi-monthly intervals, for selected distribution, the Navy Department Library Accession List. Seven issues were prepared in 1956. (See Exhibit A) [not located].
In 1956, a revised set of Library Regulations was prepared by the librarian, approved by the Director and distributed to the interested parties. (See Exhibit B) [not located].
Due to recurring requests for material on the USS MAINE, the Librarian prepared a two page resume entitled Sinking and Raising of the USS MAINE. This report included a short bibliography. (Exhibit C) [not located].
The twenty-sixth and twenty-seventh meetings of the Council of Naval Librarians were held by the Coordinator on March 21 and November 29, respectively. Newsletters, which include the minutes of these meetings, the second of which was attended by the Director, are appended. (Exhibit D) [not located].
The Coordinator prepared and distributed a new (1956) edition of Naval Library Facilities in the Washington Area. (Exhibit E) [not located].
Approximately 5,000 cards were received in 1956 from the various naval libraries and filed in the Union Catalog which is maintained in the Navy Department Library as a part of the Coordinator’s function. The catalog is serviced by the library staff who answer the dozen or so question asked each day concerning the location of a publication acquired since 1952 by one of the contributing libraries.
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This report was written in the absence of the Librarian. It is quite probable that, upon her return, she will wish to revise, add to, delete portions or completely rewrite one or more sections. However, I think it gives a bird’s-eye view of the operations of the Navy Department Library.
Frederick S. Meigs
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