Building a local history reference collection at your library

For Immediate Release
Tue, 08/04/2015


Rob Christopher

Marketing Coordinator

ALA Publishing

American Library Association


CHICAGO — A collection of local history materials is useful to a wide variety of library users, from genealogists and family historians, to patrons researching the history of their home or church and local students searching for class project resources. Kathy Marquis and Leslie Waggener speak from their own experiences, while also sharing examples and ideas from other libraries around the country, in their new book “Local History Reference Collections for Public Libraries,” published by ALA Editions. The authors present a start-to-finish guidebook for creating a local history reference collection that your community will embrace and use regularly. Written in a to-the-point manner that facilitates easy implementation, this book:

  • shows why a local history reference collection is important, how it fits into a library’s mission statement and offers tips for getting stakeholders on board;
  • summarizes current trends and practices, explaining the differences between a local history reference collection and an archive;
  • walks you through each step of planning and setting up a collection, offering guidance for determining your audience, gathering materials, cataloging and processing and collaborating with other local history organizations;
  • includes advice on housing your collection, providing access for researchers and other users and staff training;
  • gives tips for marketing and outreach, including how to bolster your collection’s presence on the Web and in social media.

Marquis most recently worked as a public services librarian at the Albany County Public Library in Laramie, Wyoming. In her nearly 40 years as an archivist and librarian, she has directed reference in a wide variety of settings, including a large state historical society, university archives and special collections. Waggener is an archivist at the University of Wyoming’s American Heritage Center (AHC). Over the 14 years she has been at the AHC, she has worked with all types of historical materials in areas of reference, processing, and acquisition.

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