Fish and Coral and Books?? The Shedd Aquarium Library Tour

The Field Museum, John G. Shedd Aquarium, and the Adler Planetarium Library Tour – Part 2 of 3

The second stop on the LISSA/SAA Museum Campus Library Tour is the John G. Shedd Aquarium. When most people think of the Shedd Aquarium, they think of mysterious underwater worlds that are homes to exotic fish, colorful coral, and slow moving turtles, not a fantastic “fishy” library. Lucky for us, our visit to the Shedd Aquarium allowed for a behind-the-scenes tour with Librarian Alisun DeKock .

DeKock has been the Shedd Aquarium’s librarian since 2007; however, she is not new to special library collections.  Prior to working at the Shedd, DeKock worked at the Adler Planetarium while a LEEP student at the University of Illinois’s GSLIS program.

The library at the Shedd is typical in size and scope for most special libraries, housing about 10,000 books and periodicals. It is a research library open to the staff and volunteers, but not open to the public.  As a functioning research library, DeKock’s focus is to keep the information as up to date as possible and weeds often.

DU GSLIS student and tour participant Julie James writes:

The Shedd Aquarium is quite small and has a solo librarian, Alisun Dekock.  Her biggest challenges are the need for outreach to promote the library within the aquarium, conservation of their ill-treated archives, and building a catalog of their archives from the ground up.  The library is very attractive and up-to-date, but the archives are not.  Alisun told us that this year is the first in twenty years that there has been a budget for archives, so much of the un-cataloged collection lives in old salt boxes, and humidity is a constant concern.  Surveying the collection is a work in progress, but the priority is conserving film from Shedd’s numerous expeditions.

For additional information about the library at the John G. Shedd Aquarium, visit their website by clicking here.

Again, thank you Jori for putting this tour together and thanks to Julie for your words. Stay tuned for the third and final installment of the Museum Campus Library Tour.


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