Magazine article American Libraries

Milwaukee PL Auctions Patent Collection Online

Magazine article American Libraries

Milwaukee PL Auctions Patent Collection Online

Article excerpt

The Milwaukee Public Library has begun auctioning part of its extensive collection of British patent volumes through the eBay Web site. The library, which hopes to regain a mile of shelf space for its bursting collections, decided to get rid of the patent volumes because the information they contain has become widely and freely available online.

The library first sold over 3,000 volumes of the series dating from 1907 or later for one dollar apiece on a walk-in basis. The library then decided to experiment with auctioning older books, dating from 1878 to 1907, in a trial run of five volumes (books older than 1878 will be kept as rare books). City Librarian Kathleen Huston told American Libraries, "At first we were somewhat reluctant, because it just seemed like more work for the staff. But we had a spectacular experience with the first five, and decided to continue with it." When one book sold for $104 and another for $74, the library chose to follow the initial offering with more sets of two books each. …

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