Tuesday, July 22, 2008

From the Preservation Lab

With local farmers' markets in full swing, I thought it would be timely to take a peek at the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources documents in the State Library's collection. I found that over the years the department has issued many brochures and pamphlets regarding numerous aspects of agriculture. Focusing on documents relating to farmer's markets and pick-your-own farms, I found that many of the items were in good to great condition, but were not housed in archival materials.

Many reports from the late 1970s through the 1980s were housed in plastic document folders as pictured above. While these folders have kept the pages inside clean and wrinkle-free, the plastic has already started to degrade which can impact the paper documents. In lieu of a plastic folder the documents will be housed in acid-free folders and envelopes which will provide more protection and support for these unbound documents over time.

The Department of Agricultural Resources also publishes many guides for residents of the Commonwealth that are smaller than typical items in the library's collection. For instance, while the two documents below are similar to a standard book in height, neither is more than four inches wide or more than a quarter of an inch thick.

Items this thin and small can get lost among larger items on the shelf. To help combat this problem these documents will each be housed in a larger acid-free envelope. The envelope will protect these items from loss and from any dust or pollutants in the air.

For more information about local farmer's markets head over to the MassGrown website where you can find markets and farms in your area of the state. If you're planning a trip to the State Library, don't forget that every Monday and Wednesday through November 26th you can head down to the City Hall Plaza market after you've finished at the library.

- Lacy Crews, Preservation Assistant

From the Special Collections Department

Edward Kirby, whose papers will soon be available for use by researchers, was a State Representative in the early 1960s. Although most of the Kirby Collection is from his years in the State Senate in the 1980s, there are materials that date from his time in the House.

This is a piece from the Republican State Committee, encouraging Republican citizens to support Republican candidates for the General Court. It includes a map of both houses of the Court, showing the distribution of Republican and Democratic members.

-Katie Chase, Special Collections Librarian

Monday, July 21, 2008

State Library Featured in InfoLink

In the summer issue of InfoLink, a community newsletter of the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at Simmons College, the State Library is featured in an article highlighting local libraries as interesting summer destinations. The full article can be read online by clicking here. The State Library is featured on the first page, with a photo on the third page.

- Lacy Crews, Preservation Assistant

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Library Survey

The staff of the State Library would like your input on how we can serve you better. We have developed a short survey and we would welcome your comments and ideas regarding the library and its services. Thank you!

-Alix Quan, Head of Reference

Friday, July 11, 2008

World War I Photographs Being Digitized

The Special Collections Department is currently working to digitize a collection of portraits of soldiers in World War I. This collection, which numbers about 8,000 photographs, was given to the library by the Boston Globe. Most of the photographs in the collection seem to be professional portraits taken for military record displaying the soldier’s name, rank, unit and division. If the paper published a story about a soldier (usually if he had been wounded or killed), the photo is accompanied by a "cut slip" with more information on the soldier's service and the article that appeared in the Globe.

There are also a few candid snapshots in the collection. Some of the photos are also accompanied by a metal plate used for printing the picture in the newspaper. Each picture represents one of the many stories to be told about soldiers in the Great War. When the collection has been scanned, the State Library will create a website where patrons can search for soldiers by name and hopefully discover previously unseen photos of relatives who were soldiers in the Great War.

As a library Page I am quite honored to work with a collection such as this, and as a recent graduate who studied history in college I am thrilled. For me each photo holds its own unique story and life that is woven into the story of a nation at war. Having studied both World Wars in great depth, I am excited to help preserve the faces of the men who proudly served our country. As a history major I learned how some the great historical mysteries were pieced together, this collection is another mystery. Some days I feel as though I am a detective who is trying to find the answers as I scan each picture. The face of each soldier who has left behind a story, a family, a life for someone to discover makes this collection exceptionally moving.

-Shawna Smith, Regis College 2008, Library Page

From the Special Collections Department

The Special Collections staff is completing processing on the papers of Edward Kirby, a Republican Representative and Senator who represented the Second Plymouth District in the House from 1960-1964 and in the Senate from 1980 to 1992. When the collection has been arranged and a finding aid (an index to an archival collection) has been produced, the collection will be available for researchers.

Shown here is an invitation to a Country Western Night from one of Kirby’s campaigns for State Senator.

-Katie Chase, Special Collections Librarian

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

From the Preservation Lab

This week in the lab 1960's documents from the Massachusetts Civil Defense Agency are being repaired. These bulletins were sent out to local civil defense directors to alert them to hazardous conditions and instruct the directors in emergency preparedness. The topic of the bulletin pictured above is hurricane safety precautions, a topic on which Massachusetts is still educating today.

This summer the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) is publishing a series of articles on preparedness for the hurricane season. These articles can be found on the main page of the MEMA website. With this week's naming of Bertha as the first hurricane of the 2008 season, the MEMA series is a timely read.

All bulletins in this 1960's series will have the staples removed, be cleaned of dust, bound with linen thread and a custom acid-free enclosure will be created to house and protect the items.

-Lacy Crews, Preservation Assistant

Monday, July 7, 2008

Nonprofits in Massachusetts

The Library receives reports from The Boston Foundation, the most recent of which is: Passion and Purpose: Raising the Fiscal Fitness Bar for Massachusetts Nonprofits.

The report suggests that there be consolidation among the many nonprofit organizations in the state.

-Pamela Schofield, Reference Librarian

Campus Violence: Prevention and Response

This extensive report deals with campus violence and is divided into four major sections. The fourth section deals with specific recommendations.

The report was produced for the Department of Higher Education by Applied Risk Management.

-Bette Siegel, Government Documents Librarian

Ready for 21st Century Success

The Commonwealth's Readiness Project on the future of public education is the focus of this report. There are more details online.

The report contains subcommittee reports relating to both teachers and students and contains an action agenda.

The report is one of the highlights of Governor Patrick's administration.

-Bette Siegel, Government Documents Librarian

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Energy Report Now Available

RUNNING ON EMPTY is a new report from the Senate Post Audit and Oversight Committee. The report focuses on the energy crisis facing Massachusetts and includes findings and recommendations.

-Bette Siegel, Government Documents Librarian