Looking Back at 2020, Looking Forward to 2021

2020 began at the Richardson-Sloane Special Collections Center as many years have done in the past: with a successful program. Along with the Scott County Iowa Genealogical Society, we presented the “Jump into Genealogy” beginning genealogy education series. We also made plans to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, the 400th anniversary of the 1620 Mayflower voyage and subsequent founding of Plymouth Colony, and commemorations of other important historical events.

Over the following months the necessary closures challenged us to devise ways to offer safe remote access to our collections via online services, guides, and programs. Later, we adopted an appointment system in order to offer patrons safe access to our building and resources.

Despite these uncertainties, we were able to accomplish many goals and activities this year that we are proud to share with you all.

In July, the State Historical Society of Iowa awarded the FRIENDS of the Davenport Public Library with a $14,847 grant to digitize media from the Bix Beiderbecke Museum and World Archives Collection. The project involves digitizing media currently on inaccessible formats. The requested funds will be used to hire a professional digitization company to migrate 239 reel-to-reel tapes and other media formats to a more stable, accessible archival format. The media contains audio-visual content relating to Bix Beiderbecke and his jazz contemporaries. The project’s desired impact on the community will be to preserve and make accessible a piece of its musical history and influence. Once digitized and available for research, it will create educational opportunities for area primary, secondary, and post-secondary educational institutions. This collection will bolster understanding of the history of Jazz in Iowa. The grant is supported by the Historical Resource Development Program (HRDP) and funded through Resource Enhancement and Protection (REAP).

Currently, Media Transfer Services of Rochester, New York is migrating the data to a digital file format, giving future researchers the opportunity to study these reccordings. We are excited to continue this important project in 2021.

The Center also announced the launch of a new descriptive guide and search tool for its Archive and Manuscript Collections called ArchivesSpace. With this resource, the public can search hundreds of archival collection guides to learn about our holdings. It can be accessed at the following web address or by clicking on the image below: archives.davenportlibrary.com.

Over the course of the year, Special Collections staff offered a variety of virtual programs which are available on the Library’s Calendar of Events and the Library’s YouTube Channel: Special Collections Playlist. We continued to send out our eNewsletter, sharing information and updates from the Special Collections Center.

2021, we hope, is a year in which we can offer more educational programs, and more opportunities for our community and beyond to engage and interact with the collections held at the Richardson-Sloane Special Collections Center. We appreciate your unwavering support and we look forward to sharing knowledge about our community’s wonderful history.

We’ve enjoyed seeing and chatting with those of you who have been in contact; we miss you all. If you wish to use Special Collections resources, please call or email us for assistance.

Happy Holidays and have a wonderful New Year! Start the year off with the fun of solving a jigsaw puzzle created from a photograph in our image collection. Click the image below to access it!

2003-09: Davenport Leisure Services & Facilities Parks Collection – Group of Silver Skaters winners holding trophies from [1950s]. Found in Box 75, Folder 771, Image 88.

(posted by Kathryn on behalf of the entire Richardson-Sloane Special Collections Center Staff)

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