Jerry Baldwin Interview

Jerry Baldwin.

Jerry Baldwin's first library job was as a student at the St. Paul Campus Library (now Magrath Library). From there, he went to library school at the University of Minnesota, and, then, on to the Minnesota Department of Highways (now the Minnesota Department of Transportation) Library as Director from 1972-2007.

In his interview, he talks about staff from the Minitex Union List of Serials (MULS) visiting the MnDOT library to record their serial holdings, the development of the Transportation Libraries Catalog (TransCat) as one of the first OCLC Group catalogs, creation of the National Transportation Library (1998) and the Transportation Knowledge Networks, and reauthorization of the National Transportation Library.

Interviewed by Sara Ring, Minitex, on July 1, 2011.

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Quotes From the Interview

On the development of one of the first OCLC Group Catalogs:

She [first director of the National Transportation Library] was working against, well not quite open hostility, but very much lack of interest in the National Transportation Library in upper management. And she said we have to do something quickly to show that librarians working together can create something of value... There were eight of the state DOT libraries through their own resources had gotten into OCLC, so we had a basic core of libraries that were participating in OCLC and we said let's approach OCLC and see if there's some way that they can take the records from these eight libraries and create an independently searchable group of libraries... we just lucked out that their head of technical services was giving a presentation at Minitex. (19:35)

On words of wisdom to library staff today:

Persistence. Libraries are so hard to sell, and they're always at the bottom of everybody's priority list. And, there's just something about librarians speaking about libraries that everyone views as self-serving, more than any other profession... So what librarians really need to do is look outside the library and identify the people who value what you're doing and understand what you're doing, and have the ability to talk about what you're doing to people who hold power over purse strings. And don't give up. Virtually everything I've ever worked on in my career took 20 years. From vision to accomplishment. (33:06)

Creative Commons LicenseThis Oral History Project interview by Minitex is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.

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