Episode 13: Local History Resources

Local History room

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Topic of the Week: Local History Collections


RUSA Guidelines for Establishing Local History Collections  http://www.ala.org/rusa/resources/guidelines/guidelinesestablishing

  • Considerations before making a commitment to developing a local history collection
    • Research and understand the history that is unique to the locality.
    • Establish and maintain a dialog between local institutions (museums, academic libraries, local archives), societies (both genealogical and historical), and agencies (county, city, and state). Consider what is currently being collected, what services are needed, to what depth such collections are being developed, and what collaborative or cooperative agreements are needed. Determine the most suitable repository for particular materials with respect to use, dissemination, and preservation.
      •  Scope and Services of the Collection
      • Collection Development
      • Collection Location and Access
      • Fiscal Considerations
        •  Provide a budget for staffing the collection.
        •  Provide a budget sufficient to acquire, process, and preserve the local history collection.
        •  Provide a budget for physical and bibliographic access to the collection.
        •  Provide a budget for reproduction, reformatting, and/or digitization of rare and fragile materials.
        •  Provide a budget for public relations.
        •  Develop a policy for a reproduction fee schedule.


Genealogy work is an important part of local history work, and very popular in public libraries. We have a few big libraries with a lot of resources; but most libraries will have some useful resources people can use as they do their own genealogy work, including access to Ancestry.com

(Nine Can’t-Miss Genealogy Libraries   Whether your ancestors hailed from Michigan or Maine, Milan or Minsk, you’re bound to make headway at one of these giant repositories

Library Examples:

Books we are reading


Love, Loss and What I Wore, by Ilene Beckman “Ilene Beckerman’s runaway bestseller articulates something all women know: that our memories are often tied to our favorite clothes. From her Brownie uniform to her Pucci knockoff to her black strapless Rita Hayworth–style dress from the Neiman Marcus outlet store, Ilene Beckerman tells us the story of her life.


America, You Sexy Bitch: A Love Letter to Freedom, by Meghan McCain and Michael Ian Black  “She is a single, twentysomething, gun-loving, Christian, Republican writer and blogger, the daughter of a Senator and 2008 Republican presidential nominee. He is a married, forty-year-old, gun-fearing, atheist, Democrat comedian, the son of a lesbian former Social Security employee. Meghan McCain and Michael Ian Black barely know each other. But they are about to change the way politics is discussed in America.

Or at least the way politics are discussed in their crappy RV.
In America, You Sexy Bitch, Meghan and Michael embark on a balls-out, cross-country tour starting in California, the heart of liberal America, and ending in the state of Connecticut, the home of blue-blood Wall Street billionaires. Along the way, they visit such cultural touchstones as Graceland and Branson, party in Las Vegas and New Orleans, pretend to be Mormon in Salt Lake City (only for a second), and go to a mosque in Dearborn, Michigan. They tour the nation’s capital; they fire semiautomatic weapons. But mostly Meghan McCain and Michael Ian Black talk to each other: about their differences, their similarities, and how American politics has gotten so divided.”


Spotlight Library

Digital Public Library of America (DPLA)

The Digital Public Library of America empowers people to learn, grow, and contribute to a diverse and better-functioning society.

We do this by maximizing public access to our shared history, culture, and knowledge.

DPLA connects people to the riches held within America’s libraries, archives, museums, and other cultural heritage institutions. All of the materials found through DPLA—photographs, books, maps, news footage, oral histories, personal letters, museum objects, artwork, government documents, and so much more—are free and immediately available in digital format. The cultural institutions participating in DPLA represent the richness and diversity of America itself, from the smallest local history museum to our nation’s largest cultural institutions. Our core work includes bringing new collections and partners into DPLA, building our technology, and managing projects that further our mission through curation, education, and community building.


The Digital Public Library of America is a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit organization based in Boston. We are a registered library in the state of Massachusetts. DPLA launched in April 2013 as the result of a multiyear grassroots planning initiative involving thousands of volunteers dedicated to the vision of building a national digital library for all.


Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) Exhibitions are designed to tell stories of national significance using source materials from libraries, archives, and museums across the United States, including letters, photographs, posters, oral histories, video clips, sheet music, and more. They were curated by a wide variety of curators and projects: the DPLA Curation team, DPLA Hubs staff, graduate students in library and information science and public history, and public librarians as part of the Public Library Partnerships Project. Please explore the credits for individual exhibitions to learn more about their curators. Contact us with feedback at education@dp.la.






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