By the end of the day this past Sunday, all of the books in the HoneyRock library were finally shelved in proper order, and lots of various problems were resolved. It felt good to finally be finished after so much hard work. In addition, due to extensive weeding, there is now plenty more shelving space for collection growth. It is a big accomplishment and couldn’t have been done without a huge amount of volunteer effort from family members.
One of the best things about HoneyRock is that it is designed as an intentional community. That means that most people know what’s going on, such as the library work, and show genuine interest in it. We frequently heard words of encouragement from others, and several thank yous from others for the work we were doing. People frequently asked “Why are you doing this? What’s the benefit to switching from Dewey Decimal to Library of Congress Classification?” These are good questions and unless you are knowledgeable about libraries, there aren’t simple answers. But I tried, and came up with two responses: 1.) libraries organized by Library of Congress Classification are better for doing research, especially the kind of research done in an academic setting; and 2.) this process, while quite expensive initially, will save the college money over time because it will make cataloging new books more efficient and cost-effective. Those who may read this post and are familiar with academic libraries will know that there is more to the whole picture, but these answers really seemed to hit the mark with people.
There is a much bigger but similar process happening at the main library on campus. Fortunately, most of that work is being done by an external vendor. But a lot of progress is being made there as well, and they are about halfway finished with the work of relabeling between three and four hundred thousand books.
Handling each one of the books in the HoneyRock collection gave me a lot of insight into what it contains. It is quite an interesting collection, actually, with more resources on topics relevant to that location and the people who study and work there than most of them probably realize. I found that several books in the collection appear to be unique — meaning, as far as I could tell, no other library collection has a copy. One of my ongoing projects to help raise the visibility of what the collection offers is to create short collection guides that I intend to have printed out and made available as handouts. E.g.: “Want to learn more about current research on experiential education? Here are examples of some books on that topic.” Or “Interested in learning about local Native American history and culture? Here are books on that topic.” There is a nice, handmade, wooden rack to mount on the wall in the library space that will be perfect for distributing these guides.
On our way home Monday, Michele and I got to see firsthand the damage done by a severe weather front that hit nearby areas a week ago Friday night, including at a nearby summer camp (Silver Birch Ranch) where two of our children were serving as student leaders to middle school kids. A tornado hit the camp hard and a lot of it was destroyed. It is amazing to us that no one was hurt given the amount of damage we saw. Everyone was pretty shaken up but made it back home safely. We are very thankful for God’s protection and mercy.
Below are two favorite photos from the time at HoneyRock. The cabin shown in one of the photos, named Owaissa, is probably at least 60 years old and was there before the land was purchased and turned into HoneyRock. Up until recently, it served as the summer home for a professor at Wheaton who sadly died only about a month ago, named Bud Williams. He and his family came up to HoneyRock every summer and stayed in that cabin. Bud contributed a tremendous amount to build HoneyRock into what it is today. Owaissa was one of the few cabins we hadn’t stayed in so it was nice to get the opportunity to stay there recently. It has a lot of character and charm and is in a great location right near the lakeshore, although honestly, it needs some major improvements.