Monday, March 6, 2017

Inventors know exactly where to turn to for help

By Michael Thibault For the Free Press February 19, 1997
UNLESS YOU are a manufacturer, engineer, entrepreneur or inventor, you probably don’t know Betty Dearth.

But if your occupation is one of those, or something similar, then you may have needed Dearth’s help on more than one occasion.

Dearth is the librarian of the Industrial Technology Centre Library, located on Niakwa Road in St. Boniface. The library, which resides in the Industrial Technology Centre (ITC), is a highly specialized resource library which caters to local busineses, entrepreneurs and innovators in all matters technical.

“We’re basically a source of applied technical information – the how-to stuff,” says Dearth.

There are over 5,000 sources of information, in both book and catalogue form, available to anyone who needs it, she says.

Unlike regular public libraries which cover a wide range of subjects, Dearth says the highly specialized nature of the library cuts down on the amount of traffic coming through the doors.

“We’re much more focused, but that makes us more useful to a smaller audience,” she says.

Some of the more interesting patrons of the ITC library are inventors.

The librarian says everyone from game creators to those with new ideas on fishing equipment show up to find out how they should proceed.

Dearth says she first introduces the budding Edisons to the literature on patents and copyrighting.

The ITC itself has some facilities to help in the creation of a prototype of an invention, plus the capability to test new products.

Like all resource centres in the nineties, the ITC Library is on-line at Users can gain access to the ITC Library catalog and search for books themselves.

The ITC Library is a member of the Manitoba chapter of the Canadian Association of Special Libraries and Information Services (CASLIS). The organization has membership from about 30 small specialized libraries in the city.

Dearth says the libraries in CASLIS assist one another in helping their patrons.

“The bigger network we have, the better we can help people,” she says.

Dearth says although not many people know of the ITC Library, or the city’s other smaller libraries, she points out that they do play an important role in the province.

The librarian says that often a manufacturer will rely on information at the library, such as official product specifications, to develop their own product.

Dearth says she knows the value of the library to its users. “Those who use us, continue to use us,” she says.

Judy Kendle, a representative with CASLIS, says small specialized libraries are “hidden treasures.”

Kendle points to another CASLIS member, the J. W. Crane Memorial Library on Portage Avenue as an example of the quality of information contained in small libraries.

According to Kendle, the J. W. Crane Memorial Library is Canada’s largest and best-known special library on aging.

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