If you’ve been to the Lee Renaud Library at the Museum before, the next time you visit it is going to look a bit bare. Recently, we’ve been going through the library collection and pulling books that were printed before 1945 from the public shelves. Although the books are valuable resources on early aviation experiences, often needed information on planes, engines and people and are a lot of fun to read, the majority of them have been read and handled so much that the bindings and pages are coming undone. To protect them and help them last longer, the books are being moved into a special collections room where they will be safe from unscrupulous handling. Besides, it will mean we have more room for other books on the public shelves.
We recognize, however, that the books still should be read – after all isn’t that what books are for? So, if there is a book you are looking for the next time you visit the museum on a weekday, just ask at the store desk and someone will retrieve it for you. If you are planning on visiting on a weekend, though, you’ll have to plan ahead a bit. You’re going to have to call Maria or Jackie in the Museum department. Once they know the date you plan on visiting, and what you are interested in they will leave the items at the store desk the day of your visit (this goes for the magazines in storage as well).
If you want the trip down memory lane – without the trip to the museum – some of the books that have already moved into the public domain have been scanned and placed online by Google Books. Here’s a small selection: (the links take you to Google Books)
If reading off a computer screen isn’t your thing, you can also find reprints of several of the books for sale in the museum store.