Benson Memorial Library, Libraries, Library Director, Titusville, PA

Building a Digital Local History Collection Together

Here’s a new thing that we’re working on at the Benson Memorial Library that will be unveiled in early 2018. I can’t take credit for the idea…that idea grew out of the Chattanooga Public Library…but hey good ideas are good ideas and if they work for your community you might as well use them. The laptop was funded by a grant through a local university and the scanner was funded by a local foundation. On top of that, we bought a 4TB MyBook Duo external hard drive to store files.

The idea is simple: if you have tools, then make them available to the public. Teach them about the tools and how to use them. If the tools create a product, ask the community if your library can build a collection out of that product. That’s what we’re going to attempt to do with this Scanning Station…to build a collection of digital artifacts that pertain to Titusville History by doing the following:

  • Offering tools to scan photos and documents at a high quality to the community for free.
  • Teaching the community how to scan items and use this technology.
  • After using the Scanning Station, asking the patrons if they would like to contribute what they just scanned to a digital collection of items, photos, and more that focuses on Titusville history.

Our Scanning Statement/Policy can be found here. This is still a work in progress and will go before our board for approval in January 2018. Every patron that uses the Scanning Station will be required to complete this form. It will then be the responsibility of the Historian to keep track of this form and the files which were scanned.

In the end, we hope to empower people to learn more about scanning, how to preserve their history, and in turn contribute to a collection which will collect our community history. I hope this collection will benefit many people in our community for years to come.

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Libraries, Social Media, Technology

Why Medium may be awesome for libraries

medium-homepage

Last week, I got an invite to test out Medium, a new publishing site developed by the folks behind Blogger and Twitter.  Over the past week, I’ve been dabbling in it and it hit me that Medium could be a really awesome tool for libraries to use.

So what is Medium?  I’ll let the developers tell you all about it (click here for more):
It’s great that you can be a one-person media outlet, but it’d be even better if there were more ways you could work with others. And in a world of increasingly overwhelming quantities of content, how do we direct our attention to what’s most valuable, not just what’s interesting and of-the-moment?

When I created my first collection (titled Public Libraries) and posted my first two pieces, this idea came to mind:

MEDIUM CAN HELP COLLECT YOUR TEENS STORIES
Teens have a lot to say.  If you don’t believe this, spend 15 minutes at a teen service desk in a public library and you’ll change your mind.  Most of these conversations happen daily and then they’re left floating in the ether, never really collected to share.  Medium can solve this!  Why not develop a teen program based around Medium.  Set up a collection in Medium called “Daily Stories from the Teen Library” and encourage teens to post their stories there.  If they’re not into posting those stories, why not collect them as the teen librarian and share those stories?

You can also use Medium as a way to collect stories created by teens in writing workshops at the library.  If Medium had existed when we ran our Game On! Envisioning Your Own Video Game program back in 2010 at my library, I know that I would’ve used it to collect the awesome stories told by the teens.

COLLECT YOUR STAFF EXPERTISE
One of the conversations the administration at my library has been having is centered around staff expertise and how to share that with the greater community.  Currently, we use our blog to do that and plan on expanding that more when our website relaunches in 2013.  With collections in Medium, you could start a collection which your staff can contribute to.  Collections have the option of being open to anyone to contribute or can be limited to those who are invited.  Think about how neat it would be to have a ANYTOWN PUBLIC LIBRARY collection with posts written by your staff.  It would be a great way to share your staff knowledge.

Here’s my profile on Medium.  It shows the collections I have created and also all of the contributions I have made to other collection.

I ❤ Video Games Collection is one of my favorite collections.  Click here to read what others have contributed to this collection.