“As an archivist it is a fabulous time to be working in Special Collections in a public library. Archives are the core of a library…they make that library different from every other facility. They also help people recognize what is special about their own lives and neighborhoods.” —Elizabeth Sargent, Assistant Director for Special Collections and
“Des Plaines Memory is a work in progress…we are operating in a dynamic environment and trying to apply archival principals to the ever-expanding possibilities that come from today’s technologies.” —Steven F. Giese, Digital Projects Librarian Public libraries have consistently played an important role in helping patrons keep up with innovations in digital tools—tools to help
One of the most visible trends in the national movement to engage diverse audiences with special collections is the trend to reconsider the content and organization of community history. This trend can be seen in the development of community archives and new or revitalized local history centers. The phenomenon is related to the increase in community documentation and oral history projects examined in chapter nine of this volume, but it is distinguished by a focus on organizational change. Beyond changes in collecting priorities and communications strategies, this trend reflects professional recognition of the need to reimagine the structures for local and community history in the public library setting.