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The AALL Spectrum® Blog is published by the American Association of Law Libraries. Submissions from AALL members and other members of the legal community are highly encouraged. Opinions and editorial views expressed are those of the authors and do not represent the official position of AALL. AALL does not assume any responsibility for statements advanced by contributors. The previous Spectrum Blog was located at aallspectrum.wordpress.com.
11/11/2014 5:54:37 PM

Thinking Outside the Box

As many of us know, our libraries --- whether academic, government, public, or law firm --- often become the default repository for our parent institutions.  We end up with boxes full of advertising brochures, awards, photos, maybe even a t-shirt or two commemorating some event.  The boxes gather dust in a closet or office somewhere, and their contents potentially never see the light of day. 

 

Well, I want to encourage you to make the opposite occur! 

 

Memorabilia and realia can be a great way to foster a sense of community in an institution.  You can use them to draw attention to a specific event like an anniversary or a retirement, or to engender an appreciation of a shared history.  A display in a conference room or lobby can help attorneys and staff (and the public) appreciate an institution's history and highlight the library's role in preserving it.  You can also use displays for outreach purposes to draw attention to the library’s contribution to the whole. 

 

For example, each summer Columbia Law School‘s Alumni/Development office organizes a huge weekend-long reunion.  Alumni are feted, fed, given nostalgia-inducing tours of campus, and generally encouraged to have a good time.  However, the one thing they didn’t do was visit the law library.  This was unfortunate,  because we wanted to be considered a valuable element of the Columbia Law School experience.  Accordingly, (with my director's consent) I reached out to the Alumni /Development office four years ago and offered to put together a display of appropriate yearbooks and student memorabilia if they in turn would bring the summer alumni reunion tours to the library.  They were hesitant, but the bribe of a temporary display that the alumni could touch was too tempting to pass up.  Since then, the visit to the library has become a very popular element of the alumni tours, leading to an increase of alumni interest in the library and its holdings.  Incidentally, it has also created a lot of goodwill between us and the Alumni/Development office. 

 

For libraries with display cases, this is your opportunity to have a short or long-term exhibit of material celebrating your law school or firm.  For those without display cases, all you need are some large frames in which you can mount photographs or brochures along with explanatory labels.  Either way, bear in mind that your items might be unique and worthy of preservation.  Make sure not to use tape or damaging substances on original material.  If the display will be in full sunlight, you may also want to substitute photocopies for fragile or colorful originals. If you have preservation questions or concerns, you should contact the AALL TS-SIS Preservation Committee    

 

Your institution’s resources and space will of course shape the kind of display that you can create.  But no matter how large or small your display, someone will see it.  Feel free to be creative!  After all, if you don’t value those dusty box contents --- and show them off to others--- no one will! 

 

© Sabrina Sondhi, 2014.  Special Collections and Services Librarian, Arthur W. Diamond Law Library, Columbia University, New York, NY.  sabrina.sondhi@law.columbia.edu

 

Posted By Sabrina Sondhi at 11/11/2014 5:54:37 PM  0 Comments
6/19/2012 8:05:35 AM

Grant Opportunity - Civil War 150: Exploring the War and its Meaning through the words of Those who Lived it

Below is a press release that presents an outreach opportunity.

The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, in partnership with The Library of America, is now accepting applications from libraries and National Park historic sites for grants to develop public programming around the free traveling panel exhibition Civil War 150.
 
Fifty sites selected by competitive application to host the Civil War 150 exhibition will each be awarded a grant of $1,000 to plan accompanying public programming. Additional grants in the amount of $500 will be awarded to 150 libraries throughout the country to provide the public programming component of this project. All those who submit an application for the $1,000 grant will automatically be considered the $500 grant opportunity. The exhibition is available for three-week periods from October 2012 to March 2015. Hosting sites will also receive supporting interpretive and contextual materials, including Civil War 150 readers (discussion guides) and access to a multimedia website with robust digital resources. Public, academic, and special libraries as well as National Park historic sites are invited to submit applications for the public programming grants and exhibition.
 
The exhibition is part of Civil War 150: Exploring the War and Its Meaning through the Words of Those Who Lived It, a major three-year project funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities. The project is centered on the four-volume Library of America series The Civil War Told by Those Who Lived It and includes a collection of readers (discussion guides) drawn from the series. Each reader presents a theme with selections drawn from The Civil War volumes, such as “Expectation of War,” “The War at Home,” “From Slavery to Freedom,” and “Civil War Writing as Literature.”
 
Libraries that wish to apply for a grant should go to http://www.gilderlehrman.org/civilwar150grant to download an application form or contact Susan Saidenberg at saidenberg@gilderlehrman.org.
About The Library of America
The Library of America is an award-winning nonprofit publisher dedicated to preserving America’s best and most significant writing in handsome, enduring volumes, featuring authoritative texts. www.loa.org <http://www.loa.org>
  

-Mark

Posted By Mark Estes at 6/19/2012 8:05:35 AM  0 Comments