Visit to Witt Research Center

This past Monday afternoon I visited the Witt Research Center at the Tampa Bay History Center.  The Witt Research Center focuses on Florida history, with much information directly related to Tampa itself.  It is a rather small facility, especially compared to the other library I visited at the Ringling Museum complex in Sarasota.  The Witt Research Center is probably less than 1,000 square feet compared to the 14,000 square feet of space at the Ringling Museum Art Library.  The items they had there were just as fascinating though!

There are old Tampa fire maps, Tampa city directories dating back to the late 1800s, old high school and college year books, family histories, and much more.  The Center is a non-circulating library with about 3,000 books and 1,500 subject files.  The main stacks are not accessible to the public.  If you visit, you tell the librarian what you want to see, and she will get it for you.  Many genealogists visit the Center, along with individuals doing research for writing papers and sometimes even books!  The Center has an average of about 100 visitors a month.

The thing I found the most fascinating about the library is the classification system used there.  They do not use the Dewey Decimal Classification System OR the Library of Congress Classification System.  Instead, they use an accession classification system.  The number assigned to new acquisitions includes the year the item was obtained/donated, the donor number, and an item number.  I think I would find this very confusing.  It's probably a good thing the stacks are not open to the public and the librarian pulls items patrons want to use.  Considering the type system used, I doubt most patrons would be able to find what they were looking for without a lot of time and effort!

The librarian showed me an old placard that was once used in a library: 

I wonder how long it's been since a library employee has been referred to as a hostess?!?


Popular Posts