East Central Regional Library is excited to announce that its first digital collection is live in Minnesota Digital Library’s Minnesota Reflections, courtesy of the Digital Public Library of America’s Public Library Partnerships Project.
ECRL’s contribution to Minnesota Reflections provides insight into the oldest existing regional public library system in Minnesota. The collection includes images used in ECRL’s history book, East Central Regional Library: Fifty Years of Connections, 1959-2009 by Marilyn McGriff, of ECRL. These photographs include library buildings (past and present), retired library services such as the bookmobile, and ECRL staff members over the years. The images illustrate the role ECRL has played in our communities and contribute to a greater understanding of rural library services in the state from 1959 on.
Browse the full collection here:
About Minnesota Digital Library:
Minnesota Digital Library (MDL) provides access to unique digital collections shared by cultural heritage organizations from across the state of Minnesota.
Minnesota Reflections is the first online project of MDL. It is a collection of more than 215,000 photographs, postcards, maps, documents, letters, and oral histories depicting the history of Minnesota. Begun in 2003, Minnesota Reflections includes digital content from more than 157 participating organizations including historical societies, special archives, universities and colleges, and public libraries from across the state who have shared their original materials with the MDL.
About Digital Public Library of America:
Officially launching on April 18, 2013, the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) aims to provide free public access to digital content in order to create a common resource for libraries and patrons of all types across America. DPLA links in one place digital collections from organizations such as the Library of Congress, New York Public Library, Minnesota Digital Library, and more.
Content available via DPLA includes the written word, works of art and culture, records of America’s heritage, and efforts and data of science. DPLA aims to make the collections more easily discovered and more widely usable and used. Users can search and scan through millions of items, including by timeline, map, virtual bookshelf, format, subject, and contributing partner.
About the Public Library Partnerships Project:
DPLA has collaborated with MDL in the Public Library Partnerships Project (PLPP), funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The purpose of the PLPP is to provide digital skills training for public librarians across MN, encourage and facilitate participation in MDL and DPLA, and create online exhibitions showcasing their content. This training was designed to reach public libraries, such as ECRL, with unique local or regional history collection collections that want to share their content with a broader audience but may not have the resources to do so.
In the first stage of PLPP, MDL offered training sessions in creating and maintaining digital content to 31 individuals representing 22 public libraries around Minnesota in 2014. East Central Regional Library staff members receiving the training were Carla Lydon, Assistant Director, Sarah Hawkins, Resource Librarian, Nancy Dunbar, Cambridge Branch Librarian, and Carolyn Avaire, Hinckley Branch Librarian.
In the year since the training, the work has been done behind the scenes. ECRL proposed projects for digitization, MDL assisted us in selecting appropriate materials from our collection, and the items were sent to MDL to be digitized and organized.
By participating in PLPP, ECRL has strengthened its relationship with MDL, improved the digitization knowledge of our staff, preserved materials to provide a lasting record, and allowed ECRL to showcase its history and services in a format we wouldn’t otherwise have been able to do, on a state and national level.
Other PLPP contributions from across the state include a 1930 plat book of Polk County by the Fosston Public Library, portraits of Duluth mayors, master plans for county parks from the Washington County Park Board, and materials from the Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board.
PLPP wraps up this month, but we’re not done yet. Stay tuned for another ECRL collection in MN Reflections and new online exhibitions to be featured on DPLA!
Sarah Hawkins, Resource Librarian