We hear that the American Philatelic Research Library (APRL) will soon be parting with many of its books. Decisions have been made at the highest levels to give those books to other libraries, under a new program known as the APRL Friend of Other Libraries program. Beginning in the third quarter of 2016, the books on the bottom two shelves throughout the library will be boxed up and shipped off to other interested libraries.
While this is shocking and disturbing news, the underlying story is known to all of us in the hobby. As stamp collecting has declined in popularity, so has the membership of The American Philatelic Society and the APRL. Book borrowing has declined, and with the expense of maintaining such a vast and lightly used collection, the APS and APRL have decided to "right size" the library.
As understood by 1898 Revenues, factors contributing to this decision include:
- Flooding: The APRL is on the bank of a creek with an occasional tendency to flood. By parting with all of the books on the two lowest shelves throughout the library, the remaining books will be an additional 3 feet above potential flood waters compared to present.
- Orthopedic Injuries: As APS members continue to increase in average age, it is much easier for our members to reach the books on the middle and upper shelves without having to strain to access the lower shelves. A recent spike in library users having back surgery has attracted the attention of epidemiologists looking for answers as to why stamp collectors in Bellefonte have made the town an epicenter for orthopedic injuries. The Friend of other Libraries program will help the APRL dodge this unwanted attention.
- Cost Effectivenss: Simply put, the library just isn't very busy anymore. The cost of maintaining the collection is exceeding revenues, and choices have had to be made. By eliminating the bottom two shelves of books, staff time, flood insurance, and library user injury insurance premiums will decline, helping the APRL produce a balanced budget.
Libraries benefitting from this new program will receive books with this label inside: