UB Reports on Library Digitization Efforts

August 18th, 2016

UB Reporter, the daily faculty/staff online newspaper, recently wrote about librarian Molly Poremski and her digitization of the book “Beautiful Homes of Buffalo” by Mark Hubbell. Not only was the out-of-copyright book digitized and put online, but Molly also used it as the basis of a Historypin collection. On the site, the original photographs from the book overlap the present Google street view of the home.

This project was also recently profiled on Buffalo Rising. Nice work, Molly!

The Holland Land Company at SUNY Fredonia

August 11th, 2016

WNYLRC held its penultimate 50th anniversary celebration last night at the Reed Library, The State University of New York at Fredonia. Our host library provided a nice assortment of refreshments for people to munch on as they socialized and checked out the exhibit.

 

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The topic of the exhibit, and that evening’s speaker, was the Holland Land Company, who you probably know were a group of Dutch investors who bought and sold much of the land in Western New York in the early 1800s. The exhibit featured posters explaining some of the organization’s story, as well as historical artifacts.

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Karen Livsey was our speaker for the evening, discussing her two books from the early 1990s: Western New York Land Transactions, 1804-1824 and Western New York Land Transactions, 1825-1835. Together, both volumes index the transactions, including name, date, lot, and location, making them a boon to genealogists and historians.

To write the books, she had gone through the Reed Library’s microfilm of the Holland Land Company’s land transactions and correspondence. She worked with about 5 rolls of the over 200 rolls of film held in the library. She created the database using dBase IV software, and sometimes occupied 3 microfilm readers at once, for ease of cross-referencing.

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Karen shared many facts that she came across in her research:

  • Buyers did not get a deed until the land was fully paid for, so many landowners were not listed.
  • Most lots were 6×6 miles, but many purchases were for only parts of a lot, such as 100 or 200 square acres.
  • Some down payments were made in the form of cattle or grain.
  • With cash, some down payments were as low as 25 cents.

After Karen’s educational presentation, librarian Scott Richmond invited the attendees to browse the books (multiple copies were available) and the microfilm. One could look up a name in the book, identify the roll of film, and get the transaction records right there at the library’s microfilm reader.

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Laptops were also available, showing the library’s collection of Holland Land Company maps on New York Heritage. Library Archivist Kim Taylor also mentioned that she is currently working on having more of the film digitized for New York Heritage, including the transaction paperwork and correspondence.

Our series of anniversary events, comprised of one event in each of our six counties, concludes next month when we hold our 50th Annual Meeting in Ellicottville. This year, in addition to the usual annual meeting activities, there will be a WNYLRC retrospective, ceremonial cake cutting, and basket raffles. You can also register for additional activities such as beer tasting, golf, and a sky coaster ride. You can register for the meeting now!

Flocks of Kittens and Litters of Chicks at the New York Archives Conference

August 2nd, 2016

This past winter/spring, WNYLRC and the other library councils that make up the Empire State Library Network announced the “Researching the Empire State Writing Competition.” The contest encouraged original research and publication around cultural, social, and political topics of New York history, using New York Heritage and New York State Historic Newspapers.

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The winner of the competition was Kelli L. Huggins of the Chemung County Historical Society, for her paper – Flocks of Kittens and Litters of Chicks: Interspecies Adoption in New York, 1880-1920Kelli presented her paper at the New York State Archives Conference in Plattsburgh, NY in June.

Read more about Kelli’s presentation, and see some of the (adorable) photos she referenced at the New York Heritage blog.

Area Libraries Make the Most of Pokemon Go

July 29th, 2016

For the past couple years, when tech writers and speakers were referring to Augmented Reality as a future technology to watch for, this probably isn’t what they had in mind. But there’s no denying that Pokemon Go is a phenomenon right now. Even if you don’t play it, it can be worthwhile to be aware of what it is and how your library can work with it.

The game, played with a smartphone, gets players out into the world, catching Pokemon that appear on their phone’s screen as an overlay against images of what’s really in front of you. Players are also visiting PokéStops, places of interest noted in the app, such as landmarks, buildings, or artwork – this is where they can grab extra items to help in catching Pokemon.

As The Buffalo News reported, local businesses and organizations are taking advantage of the craze by publicizing the fact that they are a Pokéstop. This included the Kenilworth Library and the Museum of disABILITY.

You can take advantage of this too. Find out if your library/organization is a Pokéstop by downloading the app and using it to check out your building and property. Pokéstops are indicated by a blue circle with a Pokeball. Or you can check this crowdsourced map linked by The Buffalo News. Then, let your patrons know about it! See more examples from the Olean Public Library, BECPL, and the East Clinton Branch.

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Or if you are not a Pokéstop, patrons can still catch Pokémon in your building. The Lee Whedon Memorial Library encouraged patrons to play the game and post pictures of their catches using the #pokewhedon tag, for entry into a contest.

For more tips, check out the ALSC Blog article, Why Pokemon Go and The Library is a perfect partnership.

“One Buffalo Community Library Card” Makes Headlines

July 28th, 2016

Pegula Sports and Entertainment launched its One Buffalo campaign in 2014. Although it was started with the goal of connecting the community with Buffalo sports teams, now the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library is joining in.

BECPL will introduce the “One Buffalo Community Library Card” in September, as part of a campaign to encourage young students to get library cards. This isn’t the library’s first partnership with sports teams. In 2015, Buffalo Sabres Left Wing Marcus Foligno read to students at the Central library to kick off its Winter Reading Challenge. Sabres Defenseman Josh Gorges helped kick off the following year’s event.

This program has been reported in Buffalo Business First, The Buffalo News, and WKBW’s website. Congrats to the library for making a splash in the local news with this!