This Week in JPL History: Circulation, Automation, and… FRBRization?

Once a mainstay of every Library, card catalogues are now a part of the past

During this week in 1991 Zipporah Shnay, the then Executive Director, submitted a report to Bryna Garmaise, then President of the JPL regarding the automation of the Library. This proposal would lead to a massive project which spanned from 1991 to 1993. Throughout the implementation of the project the Library kept its doors open.

A major component of the automation was the use of Radio Frequency ID (RFID) tags. These days the tags are commonplace in libraries everywhere, however back in the day the JPL was the first public library in Montreal to use them. It required a complete change in how the Library went about its everyday business.

The Library remains to this day an early adopter of Library technology. We were one of three libraries and the first public library in the word to implement a new way of cataloging books called Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records, or FRBR. This new system re-organizes how books are displayed in our catalogue so it is more intuitive from a user’s perspective.

The This Week in Jewish Public Library History blog series was made possible through the generous support of the Peter and Ellen Jacobs Virtual Archives Fund

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