Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Holyoke History Room

The History Room collection of the Holyoke Public Library contains many special resources and treasures. Archivist Eileen Crosby recently led Friends board members on an "after-hours" tour, showing us unique items and describing the types of research possible here.
Old maps made for insurance purposes detail the shapes and construction materials of buildings on each lot in Holyoke in the 1880's.
A Water dept notebook includes hand-drafted details of projects.

Holyoke Boys Club scrapbooks include clippings of newspaper articles about boxing matches and other sports and activities of the club. These large format scrapbooks, with old newsprint glued to pages, present challenges for archivists (e.g., how to store and preserve), yet provide wonderful information for those interested in Holyoke sports history.

Compact shelving in a climate-controlled area of the library basement provides safe long-term storage for archival collections.

Terrence Smith, newly elected member of the Friends board, stepped into one of temporary* aisles for a closer look at the archival boxes.

*The compact shelving rolls on tracks, allowing only one aisle open at a time. This is a huge space saver.

The public is not allowed in this basement room. Eileen invited us for a quick look at this specialized shelving. 

Fortunately many of the fragile old documents have now been digitized, and may be viewed online. The quality of the old lithographs is stunning.

 Eileen showed us examples of digitized books that can be downloaded.