Pre-Publication Alert

Archives Alive

All too often the image of a public library archive is of a dusty collection of artifacts and documents occasionally exhumed for a neglected display case.  But librarians and archivists across the country are turning that stereotype on its head, developing innovative ways to bring library users into new relationships with archival professionals and research collections.

From social archives and citizen cartography to artists residencies and photovoice projects, special collections departments are demonstrating their value not only for preservation but also for outreach, education, and citizen engagement. In this book Diantha Dow Schull canvasses the nation, showcasing exciting ideas that can be adapted for every public library.

According to Schull: “Some institutions are re-imagining traditional programs in the form of interactive exhibits and experiential tours, while others are experimenting with digital tools to enhance collections access, build community connections and encourage citizen participation. The new programs and projects are repositioning special collections as core assets of our public libraries in the 21st century.”

  • 114 programs and projects that foster engagement with archival collections
  • Insights culled from conversations with dozens of the nation’s leading public library archivists and special collections professionals
  • Profiles of 13 departments and institutions that are in the forefront of change
  • Analysis of programming trends  that are transforming users’ relationships with public library archives and special collections

Archives Alive is a must-have text for anyone with responsibilities for directing, managing or teaching archival services, as well as for those who are studying best practices and planning for change. It is also an essential resource for professionals in museum, academic and special libraries, and educators in public humanities and cultural heritage programming.

Sharing models for institutions seeking to expand connections with public audiences, this unique survey demonstrates how to make archives come alive for libraries and their communities.