Page 101 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 40

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almost all cases, from such mundane matters as the determination
and transmission of fees for services rendered and the require­
ment for information as to how the requested materials would
eventually be used by the researcher.
Just as Nature abhors a vacuum, so it seems do scholarly lib­
raries abhor establishing and subscribing to a uniform policy with
regard to the sale and use of reproductions of the materials in
their holdings. Library A will thus routinely mail its patrons
whatever they order with no further ado than to enclose a bill for
the services it has provided. Library B, on the other hand, will
mail back a printed form demanding to know how the material is
to be used — even when the applicant has already made this
perfectly plain in his letter requesting the material — and asking
for prepayment of x cents or dollars per page. But let us suppose
that one does not know exactly how many pages there are in, say,
the chapter of text that is to be reproduced, a position in which I
have several times found myself. What then? A further exchange
of correspondence, of course. On these occasions I have had to
wait months for reproductions I had hoped to get in weeks. The
charges rendered by the various institutions for comparable re­
production services, I should add, range over an extraordinarily
wide spectrum.
There may be cogent reasons of which I am not aware as to why
the delays created by the problems just discussed cannot be
minimized, and it is of course quite likely that administrators have
no choice but to leave things as they now are. As an outsider, may I
nevertheless recommend two minor changes in procedure that
would, I suspect, expedite matters for both the library and its
remotely situated patron.
A first recommendation: The adoption by as many Judaica
libraries as possible of a uniform requisition form, preferably
printed in multi-copy carbonless or snap-out format. Supplies of
these printed sets should be distributed from either a jointly
operated national office or from individual libraries to corre­
spondents who ask for them. Each executed set, when mailed by
the researcher to a particular library, should provide that library
with all the details it requires as to what is needed in the way of
reproductions or information, and what the researcher intends to