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Our library is currently located in ex Southern Railway RPO/ Baggage car #153 (built 1928.) This is the second home for our library, the original library car was Atlantic Coast Line office car #304 and was in that car until it was heavily damaged by a fire many years ago. This car was sold by the chapter to a private individual. 304 still exists however and is adjacent to a vet's office in suburban Atlanta. We are about to expand into a "new" library car, an 80' Pullman built as a Pullman lounge car, later converted into baggage car # 451 by Southern Railway. We recently received a grant for heating and air conditioning which coupled with adding a second car to the library, will offer more room and better conditions for our library. Our old library car # 153 will remain in library service, while most of our books and perishable items will be removed to the new car. This car is currently being prepared by the library staff. Currently we are rust killing the exterior prior to putting on an undercoat. It still requires exterior paint and roof work, followed by interior repainting.
We have a staff of two main librarians, myself (Jamie Reid) and my assistant librarian, Ned Krack. We wear many hats, from painting and refurbishing to answering questions from the membership and the public. We will answer questions that are easy, but sometimes requests would take many hours of research time and in these cases usually we assist in directing people to sources where they can answer their own questions. One of our best resources has been our complete collection of Taber's research volumes, which serves as a guide to locating research materials on many different railroads.
We have about 850 books that have been accessioned and cross referenced in our catalogue. These are currently in car # 153 but will all be moved to the new library car and available for on site research. We are reviewing our policy on lending of books, but currently do not allow use of books off the library premises. As we grow we hope to change this policy and allow some borrowing of books by chapter members.
Our library also has an extensive periodical collection, with many major rail magazines (including modeling magazines) dating from the 1930's and 40's. to present. Our collection of Tie's is complete, and we also hold railway employee magazines for several railroads though none of the other collections is complete. We have an extensive collection of railroad advertising materials which is currently stored, but will be made accessible for research once our new car is open.
We have a large collection of blueprints and related materials, including diagrams for the train shed at Augusta, many Atlanta Terminal Station diagrams and prints, old turntables, roundhouses and structures from all over the eastern and southern states. A number of our prints relate to the New York Central and Michigan Southern, rather out of our area, but a valuable part of the collection just the same. We also have track diagrams for a number of roads in Georgia and Alabama. We have recently catalogued over 1700 prints and diagrams and are putting them in order for easy referral and retrieval. Car # 451 will allow more space for storage and use of these rare documents. We have also received the donation of a computer system which will be used in the new car.
A project of the library staff that is partially completed is a catalogue of all our holdings. Ultimately we will computerize this list for better access.
In the past our library has had little space for photographic collections and what space we had in RPO # 153 was without climate control. But in a generous move from museum officers, space was granted in the interior office area of our new exhibit building, where the library will be granted space inside this climate controlled area for installation and protection of any new photographic collections we may receive. We will also be obtaining equipment so that we can reproduce photos for sale as well. This will be an extension of the library into new territory.
We also are working on the publication of some monographs on railroad subjects related to the Southeastern area. Currently we are developing a monograph on "Preserved Railway Equipment in Georgia." Our attempt to catalogue all the cars and structures other than depots that have been saved either by private individuals or organizations in the state of Georgia. This has been a daunting task, involving a lot of travel. Publication was delayed as all worked on \moving and reopening the museum at our new site. Now that things are beginning to calm down we again are beginning to move this project forward, and to date have catalogued over 350 rail vehicles alone. We are also working on a monograph covering the history of the Macon and Birmingham Railroad.
Long range library plans call for the construction of a building to house our library. We all have ideas for the development of a future facility to serve our needs better. In this regard we have been drawing up plans and ideas we wish to incorporate in any new structure.