Reading Road Trip with BECPL

January 18th, 2017

This is somewhat “old news” but I just learned about it, so it’s new to me, and I don’t think we ever reported it on this blog.

In 2010, the Jafarjian family of Williamsville decided to visit all 37 libraries in the Buffalo & Erie County Library System, and they blogged about it. Operation Reading Road Trip documents the process, including photos of each library and a description of what they did. It includes comments on the library’s collection, interior decor, and other stops near the building.

It’s great to see a family with 2 young children making libraries and reading a part of their lives, and it’s fascinating to see all their thoughts on the various locations. The road trip was completed in June 2011, but the blog is still up for anyone who wants to read all about their adventure.

The family was also profiled by WBFO, the local NPR station, and honored at a media event held by the Central library.

This is a great idea…any chance we can inspire someone to try this for the Nioga Library System or Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Library System?

Lily Dale Librarian makes “American Libraries”

January 10th, 2017

Mandi Shepp is the librarian at the Marion Skidmore Library at Lily Dale Assembly, and is actively involved in WNYLRC projects and committees. And if you’ve been fortunate enough to get a tour of the library at a committee meeting or Tour & Taste event, you know that Mandi works with a fascinating and varied collection, which she is passionate about organizing and preserving.


In the January/February 2017 issue of American Libraries, Mandi was profiled for the “Bookend” feature, which showcases librarians and their workspaces. You can see it on page 80 of the online edition of the magazine.

Congrats on the profile, Mandi!





New WNY Papers Digitized, including one still in Production

December 15th, 2016

Several Western New York newspapers have recently been added to New York State Historic Newspapers, including one with a long (and continuing) history. This website is a project from WNYLRC and the other 8 library councils that make up the Empire State Library Network.

Newly added:
The Journal and The Daily Journal, early 20th-century papers from Lackawanna, courtesy of the Lackawanna Public Library.

More issues added:
The Medina Daily Journal and Medina Register and The Medina Tribune, from the Lee-Whedon Memorial Library (Nioga Library System).
The Island Dispatch, from the Grand Island Memorial Library.




The Island Dispatch is now almost 100% digitized. This paper is still in production, and available online issues start with its beginning in 1944 and continue through 2014.

The paper was founded by Oliver “Ollie” Howard and its first issue was released on March 3, 1944. He wrote the “Hello Grand Island!” editorial you see in the image above. He appeared to be something of a renaissance man, hosting a radio show about fishing on WGR, writing a column about television, and hosting a TV show about the outdoors.

The paper has changed hands a few times since then. 2014 marked the 70th anniversary of the paper, and you can see just how much this paper means to the residents of Grand Island. I found not one, not two, but three proclamations read by different levels of government to mark the occasion: The Grand Island Town Board, The Erie County Legislature, and The New York State Senate.

Digitization of The Island Dispatch began in 2010 when Lynn Konovitz, then Director of the Grand Island Memorial Library, received an RBDB grant from WNYLRC to have some of their microfilm scanned. This latest set of uploads brings the project to completion. You can check out the results, as well as hundreds of other papers, at the NYS Historic Newspapers website.


New Collection on NYH takes us inside an isolated community

December 1st, 2016

Our latest WNYLRC collection on New York Heritage comes from the Museum of disABILITY History, taking a look at J. N. Adam Memorial Hospital through postcards and magazines.

The hospital opened in Perrysburg, NY in 1912 as an in-patient tuberculosis treatment center. However, there was no cure yet for the highly-contagious disease (only symptom management), so for the 1 in 170 Americans living in a sanitorium during this time, they were essentially in exile.

Tuberculosis patients and beds lined up in open air around building, c. 1930s.

Postcard showing tuberculosis patients and beds lined up in open air around building, c. 1930s.


The isolated group of patients and staff members during this time formed their own community. The J. N. Adam Memorial Hospital collection includes issues of Grit-Grin, a magazine produced by the residents and staff, providing a venue where they could express themselves.

Title page of Grit-Grin, August 1939.

Title page of Grit-Grin, August 1939.


Grit-Grin Magazine, August 1927

Cover of Grit-Grin, August 1927

Content included columns documenting stories about the patients, events happening within the immediate area, and drawings and poetry. The social isolation experienced by the patients is an important context to view this material. The social fear of tuberculosis was a barrier that kept people away. Patients were often unable to see family or friends for weeks or even years.

Column from January, 1928.

Column from January, 1928.

And this hospital was not an unusual case. Take these examples:

In fact, there was enough material on the topic for a presentation at the Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association conference in 2013, summarized here. The author proposes the idea that involvement in creating publications like these could have helped patients recover more quickly.

The J. N. Adam Memorial Hospital was used as a tubercular facility until 1960, when it was turned over to the State of New York for use as a developmental disability center. The building still stands but has been abandoned since 1995. If you are interested in its current state, the blog Untapped Cities has a fascinating photo essay about the building.

Coincidentally, the J.N. Adam Memorial Hospital was the subject of a Buffalo News article this week, related to a book on the subject being published by the Museum of disABILITY History.

Don’t forget to look at the J. N. Adam Memorial Hospital collection on New York Heritage.

Minnesota Library Cooperative Explains Metadata and Other Concepts

November 17th, 2016

New York is unique in having 9 Library Councils to serve libraries in each region of the state. But there are other types and sizes of consortia throughout the country. For example, Minitex, located at the University of Minnesota campus, serves libraries in the three-state region of Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota.

Minitex started a new series of videos on their YouTube channel to explain different library concepts. Their first one, on Metadata, is humorous as well as educational. If you are new to metadata, this is a good place to start.