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Special Interest Group Meeting Notes: Archives SIG 11/30/2021

Notes from the most recent meetings of special interest groups at Southeastern

November 30, 2021

Today's Topic: Public Programming & Community Outreach and Engagement in Archives/Special Collections

Examples of programming, events, outreach efforts from attendees:

  • Hosting PowerPoint presentations using images/items from archives:
    • Finding suitable materials you can use can be a challenge. Copyright can be an issue.
    • The time it takes to put together a presentation is often underestimated. A general run of thumb is "one hour of prep per each minute of presentation"
    • Marketing presentations using library website, social media, local paper
  • College Archivist was invited by a Physics professor to give a presentation to students on the history of physics at the college. She worked really hard to research the topic and prepare the presentation. It was a great way to promote the archives and share information about how they preserve the history of the school. There is interest in turning the presentation into something that can be shared widely.
  • Historical Society put together a Cemetery Crawl through the month of October. It included a self-guided walking tour using Google maps. Each plot was pinned and there was an audio component for each person. It also included a scavenger hunt to locate other people buried there. The volunteers did a lot of research to prepare for these activities. The result of their research is now on the Historical Society website. About 100 families participated. They marketed through social media and county-wide tourism calendar.
  • One Historical Society has been approached by Geocaching community.
  • Public Library partnered with local businesses to create a scavenger hunt. They used QR codes. Each code linked to a Google Doc. This allowed them to capture a lot of data (how many people went to each location, for example). Made sure QR codes were visible even when business was closed. Big plug for Canva for creating supporting materials.
  • Public Library recently started hosting Trivia Nights. Hybrid in-person/Zoom event. Questions covered a range of topics.
    • Question: How much help do you give before hand? Do you point participants to resources where they can "study up"?
    • Answer: This program had multiple-choice answers. One answer was out in left field which helped narrow the choices.
    • Providing study materials can be a great way to promote your organization and your local history collections. For example: "All answers can be found on our website somewhere" (or Digital Collections!).
  • Interest in hosting genealogy programs.
  • There are lots of YouTube videos of library and archives staff promoting their archives, special and local history collections. Also examples of genealogy resources and programs.
  • Interest in hosting "Scan Days" for members of the public. They can come in and digitize items from their family archives, with the hope that the library/archive will keep a digital copy of the materials. There are gaps in our collections. There is a lack of mid/late 20th century photos because people don't think they have historical value. Facebook groups can be a good way to get images you lack/need. Past experience shows that people are willing to share their images. Culture in Transit Toolkit is a great resource for hosting Community Scanning Days:
  • A focus in Academic Archives is matching resources with curriculum and assignments. This often includes digitizing the items so students can access them remotely as needed. Providing help/resources at safe distances to our academic community is a priority right now.
  • Public Library interviewing local residents to capture their experiences and stories. The interviews were filmed by a local student and uploaded to YouTube. They have been very popular.
  • Volunteer pools are drying up a bit. How have others recruited new volunteers?
    • Reach out to interest groups (railroad clubs, geology clubs, etc.). Their interests often overlap with historical research and cultural organizations.
    • Lots of volunteers are retirees. Word of mouth (tell your friends) is a good way to expand volunteer base. Reaching out to retirement and assisted living communities is another way.
    • Managing volunteers takes time. They are often dedicated to a specific task.
  • Every community has a little something that makes them special or unique. Example: Corning Museum of Glass did a fundraiser/workshop around perfume bottles. For $25, they shipped a "DIY perfume kit."
  • Resources for help with programming in Archives:

Next Meeting: February 1, 2022 at 2pm

Southeastern NY Library Resources Council
21 South Elting Corners Road | Highland, NY 12528
Phone: (845) 883-9065