Budding Archivist

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Reflection Post #2 – Collective Connections

on September 22, 2020

I get excited to see how libraries are evolving beyond the perception of a book warehouses and how ‘hands on’ maker programs foster creativity and discovery integrated with technology and community. Some of the standouts for me from the week 4 module are most of the NYPL links and Werner’s post on how to destroy special collections with social media were very interesting. New York is a massive culture capital [fashion, food, architecture, arts, etc] and that collection can be shared by anyone anywhere now. YOUmedia in the CPL was amazing too. It’s giving the community members a safe and positive place for learning, creation, skills development with play, expressive outlet and nurture relationships.

An example of a participatory and transparent library is the Los Angeles Public Library. They encourage the public to participate in a variety of ways as seen on the getting involved web page. Members of the community can join the library foundation, become a friend, volunteer, and donate materials or funds. Community involvement was a big component when they were devising their 2015-2020 strategic plan which is linked on their website. ‘We asked what the library could do to help them make a better life. And the people of Los Angeles answered. By email, phone, focus groups and hundreds of hand-written notes.’ (LAPL, 2020)

One current program that is involving the community is the call for submissions for the Safer at Home Archive. They are collecting materials to document the local communities during the Covid-19 pandemic. Check out the Special Collections video about it. This is an offshoot of the Memory Lab where they provide tools and techniques to preserve the diverse communities of Los Angeles. They hold scanning days with the mobile memory lab at different locations announced through their social media. The community can bring their personal artifacts to be digitized as well as capture oral histories. Users go home with digital copies. I would love to be a part of this unique program that is preserving the community. It’s a great ice breaker where people open up and become more communitive. I feel that this program is a great way to get to know your community and users. It can help form a relationship or strengthen it. Plus, the community sees itself represented within the archive.

Facebook Examples from LAPL branches announcing Scanning Day


LAPL (2020, Sept) Los Angeles Public Library Strategic Plan 2015-2020. [PDF] Retrieved from: https://www.lapl.org/sites/default/files/media/pdf/about/LAPL_Strategic_Plan_2015-2020.pdf


NYPL Surveyor Tool (2017)

NYPL Space & Time Collections. (n. d.)

NYPL Public Domain Image Collection (n.d.) Werner, Sarah. (2015). How to Destroy Special Collections with Social Media.

9 Responses to “Reflection Post #2 – Collective Connections”

  1. Genesee Rickel (she/her) says:

    What an interesting and timely post, thank you! The Safer at Home project sounds really interesting and I hope more libraries, archives, and museums are doing similar projects. I just met with some colleagues and staff from the Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI) to start building a programming partnership for 2021. We discussed doing something similar to what LAPL is doing. I’ll have to share this post with them!

  2. Christine Caldwell says:

    Hi Genesee, @gmrickel
    I glad to hear that this was helpful and thank you for sharing. It’s kind of similar to a program we view in Mod 4, The DOK Delft where they linked it to the city archive. I find these programs fascinating. Good luck with your project!
    MOHAI looks like an amazing place to work. I peered at the website a bit. The upcoming lecture by Clara Bergs sounds really interesting. BTW, I love how MOHAI website gives you a brief summary of that event when you put your mouse over it, brilliant design!


  3. Kay Wolverton Ito says:

    What a cool post, @cmcaldwell! Memory Lab and Safer at Home are the types of programs/services that I wish more public libraries would implement. It seems like large systems, like LAPL, are able to do so much easier, but I imagine there could be additional layers of red tape to get through as well. I have remarked often how right now feels like we’re living through history, at least more so than any other time in my lifetime. Having libraries be part of not just the preservation of memories but the community sharing of those memories is wonderful. Thanks for your great post!

    • Christine Caldwell says:

      @kayzdaze2020, Thank you for commenting.

      LAPL has a huge budget and population to work with. Yes, maybe a bit of a blessing and a curse!?

      Yes, I agree. We are going through a historic period. This pandemic will bond us all globally like nothing else in our time.

  4. Stratos Xanthus says:

    Hi @cmcaldwell,

    I couldn’t agree more about the community involvement section of your post. Yes it’s important to emphasize volunteering. I remember when taking 204, we drafted a strategic plan that incorporated more from the community (volunteering, involvement, reaching out, etc). Even though the institution may not have taken what we wrote seriously, I believe the points about community were valid. It will forever be important.

  5. Excellent examples from LAPL and NYPL!

    And your thought in the comment about the pandemic bringing people together resonates. I really think that will happen and we will see more of a focus on humanism and helping others. (although right now, things seem awful)

    • Christine Caldwell says:

      Hopefully so!!! Since my studies have begun, I am really drawn to the social work aspect of librarianship on a localized level (grass roots) It gives me hope during all this ugliness. -cmc

  6. @cmcaldwell You are totally on the right track too. Wouldn’t it be cool to have na social work for librarians course?

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