It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas in the Processing Section of the Law Library.
Monday morning we received five large boxes shipped from the Nairobi field office of the Library of Congress.
It’s always fun when these deliveries arrive as we never know what we’ll find.
The last shipment from Nairobi was mostly Gazette issues, including items that had been missing from our collection since the mid-1990s. Talk about feeling like the holidays!
This shipment seems to be mainly serial titles with a few new monographs thrown in.
As you can see we received items from eight of the twenty-nine countries for which the Nairobi office is responsible – Botswana, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Malawi, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. And that’s just the top layer.
So how is this material collected? Who decides what we get?
Well, the Library of Congress collects material in a number of ways. Most of the legal material from the Library’s six overseas offices is either collected by purchase or exchange.
The Nairobi field office provides us with subscriptions to certain legal journals, case reporters and the like. Staff of the Nairobi field office also travel to the various countries covered in their jurisdiction to collect relevant material. Generally before such a trip the field office staff will contact us for “want lists” of items we particularly desire from the countries they will visit – usually items missing from our collection. Armed too with the Law Library’s Collection Policy, the field office staff will scout out titles of interest to send to us.
Once acquired, they will catalog the new titles for addition to the Library’s collection. They pack these materials with the various ongoing serial titles as they receive them, and ship several boxes at a time.
When the material finally arrives at the Law Library, foreign legal specialists, who also serve as selecting officers, will peruse the new titles to decide where they should be housed – either in our general stacks or in the Global Legal Resource Room. If there is no legal specialist for a particular jurisdiction, one of Collection Services selecting officers may make these decisions.
The staff of the Processing Section accessions the remaining material. Like all purchase material, boxes from the field offices get top priority so that material is on the shelves and ready for patrons within a couple of days.
So if you find yourself in the Law Library using, say, the Zimbabwe gazette, give a thought to the staff in Nairobi who collect the material so that we may bring it to you.