This section is from the book "Modern Buildings, Their Planning, Construction And Equipment Vol6", by G. A. T. Middleton. Also available from Amazon: Modern Buildings.
The requirements for the system are - book-card trays, issue trays, and sorting trays. In the book-card tray (Fig. 118) are placed the cards of all books in the library according to numerical order. When a book is asked for the card is taken from this tray and placed, together with borrower's card, in a manilla envelope (Fig. 119). The two cards are then placed in one of the divisions of the sorting tray (Fig. 118), ant the whole day's working is then sorted out in numerical order, headed by a date guide, and placed in the issue tray, which is of same pattern as the book-card tray (Fig. 118). A fresh tray is used for each day's working. The issue trays are then placed on a special part of the counter, or in a cabinet set apart for the purpose. On the return of the book the assistant knows, by the date of issue, in what issue tray to find the cards, withdraws same, gives back his personal card to the borrower, and replaces the book card in the book-card tray. It will thus be seen that the process is simple and mechanical in its working.
At the Concilium Bibliographicum a cabinet of 72 drawers has been introduced, arranged in 18 tiers of 4 drawers each, the approximate dimensions being 6 feet 6 inches high, 2 feet wide, and 1 foot deep. Cabinets to fit on tables (Fig. 120) are made by the Library Supply Company to following sizes - 3 feet long, 2 feet deep, and 2 feet 3 inches high. The lower part of the table is 2 feet 4 inches high, and is utilised as a shelf space for large folios. These cabinets may be made in a number of sections containing any combination of drawers, and any section can easily be added thereto.
Whatever issuing and receiving system may be adopted, the shelving arrangements are much alike, chiefly differing in the matter of spacing. With the open access system the cases should be not less than 6 feet apart and not more than 6 feet 6 inches in height, so as to allow of an easy reach. In the delivery-over-counter system the cases may be 3 feet apart and 7 feet 6 inches high, the traffic of the attendants alone having to be dealt with. The bookcases are made of wood or iron, and should be as open as possible so as to allow of ventilation; for all know the musty smell which is experienced on opening a long-closed glazed bookcase. In stack-rooms which are away from the public gaze little attention is paid to the finishing of the shelves, but where they form part of a reference department or open access library, then the ends should be of panelled and moulded walnut, oak, or other such special wood. The shelves should be 3/4 or 7/8 inch finished, and supported every 3 feet or 3 feet 6 inches, and the height between them may be calculated at 10 inches for the average volume. Where the stacks are placed across the room, and not against a wall, it is customary to make them double, occupying a total depth of 18 inches. A plan and other views of the shelving as fitted at the St. Deniol's Library are shown in Fig. 121, while the necessary blocking pieces will be seen where the projecting cases abut against the wall. For shelving which exceeds 3 feet in length a central vertical support is added, fitted with Tonks' adjustments. All these fittings are made in oak, moulded and carved.
It will be of interest to know that the treatment of the cases in this library has been carried out in accordance with what the late Mr. W. E. Gladstone found to be the most suitable and convenient arrangement (see Fig. 122).
A fixed wood back may be placed between the two sets, but this is not recommended, it being much better to leave the space entirely open, and to keep the shelves 2 inches away from one another, with a small fillet nailed on the back edge of each to prevent the books from going too far back. An open mesh wire may also be used as a means of separation. Vertical space is economised and lightness of structure obtained by using steel plate for the shelving. This is fixed into a light wooden framework and covered with a layer of leather.
Fig. 131. ST:Deiniol's Library: Hawarden. Drawing Of Bookshelves.
For larger volumes, deeper and higher shelves will have to be provided. Shelves which are made to stock sizes are of 6f, 8, 10, and 12 inches deep; whilst the height is regulated by wood cleats or by Tonks' adjustment (Fig. 123), which consists of metal strips fixed to the framework with perforations 3/4 inch apart, into which strong metal plates are placed.
ST:Deiniol's Library: Hawarden.
Gladstone National Memorial.
Ground Floor Plan.
Reading Room, "Edward Pearce" Library, Darlington.
[G. G. Hoskins, F.R.I.B.A., Architect.
ST. Deniol's (Gladstone Memorial) Library, Hawarden.
[Douglas & Minshull, Architects.
Fig. 124 gives the section and elevation of iron framework shelving as supplied to the Patent Office, London, and many other leading libraries. These are made under Lambert's patent, and in stock sizes of 3 feet long, 7 feet high, and 18 inches deep, to carry steel or wood shelving. Any number of these sections may be placed end to end, with the last one, which is exposed to view, either made of ornamentally stamped metal or covered by a wood panelling. At the present day it is deemed advisable not to carry stacks more than 7 or 7 feet 6 inches high, and the extra space of the room, which would probably be of good height, may be utilised by carrying a second tier of cases over the first. The space between the two is fitted with iron-framing, to receive iron, glass, wood, slate, or open ironwork flooring.