Crowdsourcing study advice: how cold is your library?

In an imaginative and socially valuable exercise a group of academic staff in the US has developed a crowdsourced document to provide essential advice to scholars around the world. Called “How Cold Is that Library?” it offers top tips on the relative warmth of study spaces from a number of different countries.

A group of researchers in the US seem to be the creators of this inspired document and one of their number, Juliet Sperling, a faculty fellow in American art at Colby College, credited her colleague Megan Cook but said the document was “generally inspired by conversations we’ve had as co-fellows” in the Andrew W. Mellon Society of Fellows in Critical Bibliography:

The society brings together 60-some scholars of rare books and material texts from a variety of disciplinary or institutional approaches, she said, “so collectively, we’ve all spent quite a bit of time in libraries of various climates all over the world.” In addition to library temperatures, lighting and even humidity levels, the scholars trade research destinations’ photo policies and nearby eateries and drinking holes, among other tips. A spreadsheet opens up that resource to others, Sperling said. The document already has dozens of entries, from the U.S. to South America and Europe.

There is some really useful advice for researchers looking to prepare for a long stay in an unfamiliar and chilly library or archive which will, I am sure, become even more helpful as the contributions increase.

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