by Roger Dahl and Lewis Walker
The National Bahá’í Archives, United States, is happy to announce that a listing of many of the holdings of the U. S. National Bahá’í Library, located in Wilmette and Evanston, Illinois, USA, is now online and available to researchers and bibliophiles.
Available are some 15,000 items, including books, pamphlets, study materials, and national and international Bahá’í periodicals. The main part of the National Library is housed in the lower level of the Bahá’í House of Worship in Wilmette. The staff library is located in the Bahá’í National Center building in Evanston.
To access the National Bahá’í Library’s catalog, type in http://bnl.follettdestiny.com. Select “National Baha’i Library, US.” Then key in a title (or author) in the box to the right of “Find,” and select the icon for “title” (or “author”). If your search produces results, the basic information for the title will appear and, if the title itself is selected, a few other notes about it will be shown. If the information on the right side of the screen says the work is available, click on “available.” The next screen will give you the location of the work—“stacks” if the title is at the Bahá’í House of Worship in Wilmette and “1233 Central” if at the Bahá’í National Center in Evanston (and, if so, whether it is available or is checked out).
If you find items of interest in the catalog, you can purchase photocopies or scans. In the case of publications that are still in print, the U. S. National Bahá’í Library abides by the standard legal restrictions upon their duplication.
The library cataloging project began in 2000 when the National Bahá’í Archives, United States, chose the Follett Software Company as the software provider for cataloging its items held in the U. S. National Bahá’í Library. By 2005 the cataloging of books was completed, though, obviously, such cataloging is ongoing. In 2008 Follett began offering Web-based cataloging via its Destiny Library Manager product, to which the Archives subscribes. The Web-based catalog allows the public to access descriptions of the National Bahá’í Library’s cataloged titles (and also those held at the Louhelen Bahá’í School’s library in Davison, Michigan, USA).
The cataloging of the National Bahá’í Library is being done by the Assistant Archivist, following the classification system for the Bahá’í Faith developed by William P. Collins, the head of cataloging for the U.S. Copyright Office of the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. (and former librarian at the Bahá’í World Center). The system possesses the scope required for the alphanumerical identification of literature addressing the multifarious aspects of the Faith. Books about other subjects, but having significant treatments of the Bahá’í Faith, are normally cataloged exactly as found in the Library of Congress.
The library holdings that remain to be cataloged include area, district, regional, and state U.S. Bahá’í periodicals, U.S. and international local periodicals, U.S. and international programs and invitations for Bahá’í events, directories, annual reports, proceedings of conferences, press kits, publisher’s catalogs, cards and leaflets, sheet music, and special materials.
Questions about the library and requests for photocopies or scans of catalogues materials can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org or to the U. S. National Bahá’í Archives, Bahá’í National Center, 1233 Central Street, Evanston, IL 60201 USA or 847-853-2358. The Archives welcomes inquiries from friends having items that may be needed in the U. S. National Bahá’í Library. Please send a list of items you wish to donate to begin your conversation with the National Bahá’í Archives, United States.