Q&A with California Geological Survey Librarian Amy Loseth for #LibraryShelfieDay

Most folks don’t know that the Department of Conservation is home to the California Geological Survey library–full of geologic resources, maps, and even rare books dating back to the 1600s!

The library, located at 801 K Street, in Downtown Sacramento (across from the Sacramento Public Library) is usually open to the public. With COVID-19 restrictions currently in place, most library use is now online.

We asked our resident librarian Amy Loseth a few questions about library life on #LibraryShelfieDay, January 27.

CGS Librarian Amy Loseth maintains a meticulous rare book room; some books date back to the 1600s.

How has managing the library changed this past year?

The digital trend is far from a new one. This last year emphasized the importance of digital resources, not only in the sense of obtaining more digital content for the library through purchasing and subscriptions, but in continuing to digitize the parts of our collection that we can, in order to make them readily accessible.

The pandemic has made it more difficult to obtain physical items as well, due to library closures and teleworking.

For more common items, we can usually find a lending source, but we’ve been running into issues fulfilling the more obscure requests, as these are sometimes available from only one or two institutions, which may or may not be lending out materials currently.

What types of requests are you getting now vs. requests pre-COVID?

The nature of the requests hasn’t changed that much actually. We have always received many requests for digitized materials from our collection, and we continue to.

What are your most requested items?

Staff requests are most frequently for articles and papers from scientific publications and theses/dissertations, either from our own collection or from other institutions through inter-library loan.

Requests from outside the organization are almost always for CGS publications, current and historic, print and digital, and of course, maps, maps, maps!

Are there any other libraries you want to collaborate or share with?

I have greatly enjoyed working with Nicole Waugh, Senior Librarian for the California Energy Commission Library, who spearheaded the initiative to share digital resources throughout all the departments of the California Natural Resources Agency. Her efforts and commitment have improved accessibility to innumerable resources for all of us working for the agency. I look forward to the furthering of this collaboration in the future.

Also, I think it would be exciting to participate in the Sacramento Archives Crawl in upcoming years to showcase some of the historical parts of our collection here, which certainly have much to contribute to the rich and storied past of the state of California.

Until you can browse our library in person again, check out CGS’ digital resources at conservation.ca.gov/cgs or browse their online catalog here.

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