Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Make summer plans with SLAM

Summer is just around the corner and that means fishing, camping, hiking, and traveling, but we've also got 10 ideas for great things to do with SLAM this summer.

10. Join us for the Grand Opening of the Father Andrew P. Kashevaroff State Library, Archives, and Museum on June 6, 2016. This community celebration is an opportunity for us to welcome Juneauites and visitors to the new facility, and we can't wait to share it with you.

9. If you just can't wait for June 6 or are looking for some VIP treatment, then get your tickets for the Friends of the State Library, Archives, and Museum special preview on Saturday, June 4, 5:30-8:30. There will be live music, delicious hors d'ouevres, and a no host bar, and a rare opportunity to go behind the scenes. Tickets are $75 for Friends members and $100 for non-members. For more information, visit http://foslam.org/events. Tickets are on sale now from JAHC and both locations of Hearthside Books.
The construction fence came down this week, so people can enjoy walking through the grounds. The Friends special preview will be the first chance to get inside.

8. Participate in summer reading at your local library. If you have young children, help prevent summer slide by reading, learning, and creating with free activities at the library. If you're child-free, many public libraries are now offering adult summer reading programs, where you can win great prizes, join book groups, and expand your reading interests.

7. Take a tour of the new permanent exhibits in the Alaska State Museum, on your own or guided by one of the Museum's volunteer docents. All the exhibits have been completely re-imagined, updated, and expanded with the help of community curators from around the state. You'll find artifacts that you've never seen before, as well as familiar favorites, and make new connections across cultures.

6. Come dance your heart out at a Rock Around the Block Party! Every Friday from June 10 through August 26, there will be live music and dancing on our Pivot Plaza next to Nimbus, and delicious eats at the food trucks on the JACC lawn from 5:00 to 7:30 pm.
Image courtesy of the Juneau Arts and Humanities Council

5. Enjoy the summer's temporary show, "Living Alaska," a 10-year retrospective of contemporary artwork by Alaskan artists purchased by museums with funds from Rasmuson Foundation, on tour from the Anchorage Museum. Read the rave review in Alaska Dispatch News.

4. Research Alaskan history in the new, combined Historical Collections and Archives Research Center. For the first time, researchers can visit one location to delve into territorial records, historical photos, maps, and manuscripts.
Looking for information about the Iditarod? You can read telegrams from the Archives, look at photos from the Historical Collections, or browse a 1925 newspaper on microfilm.

3. Relax in the new Richard Foster Reading Room, where you can enjoy an unbeatable view, read an Alaskan newspaper or magazine, or study on your own. We'll have wi-fi, public computers, and plenty of outlets, where you can plug in, recharge, and relax.
One of the views from the Reading Room looks back on our old home in the State Office Building, but others look down the Channel, toward Mount Juneau, or over the Willoughby district.

2. Eat lunch in our atrium while observing the eagles in the new Eagle Tree exhibit, getting lost in Walter Gordinier's Glacial Ponding glasswork, or sitting on Martin Shelton's exquisite wood benches.

1. Brush up your Shakespeare during First Folio! The Book that Gave Us Shakespeare, on tour from the Folger Shakespeare Library. We are Alaska's host site for this national traveling exhibit, which will be on display from July 26 through August 24, and we'll have tons of great lectures, activities, and events for Shakespeare fans of all ages.
An original First Folio of Shakespeare's works, printed in 1623, will be on display for four weeks in our new building.

It's going to be a great summer! Hope to see you at SLAM.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

How to move a library: Books

The Alaska State Library is one of many Alaskan libraries that have moved to new digs in the past few years. To name a few, Sitka Public Library (formerly Kettleson), Cordova Library, Seward Community Library & Museum, Nome's Kegoayah Kozga Library, Talkeetna Library, and Juneau Public Library's Valley location all have new buildings.

We're fortunate that we're not moving very far. Our old and new locations are only a few blocks apart, but it's still too far to hand carry all the books or even for a book brigade, like this one used in Cordova. Video posted by Cordova Telephone Cooperative.


Every library move has different requirements and should use a moving method best suited to the collections, staff, and equipment of that library. Our collections move team, led by Public Services Librarian Katie Fearer, decided to move our book, periodical, and media collections on book carts. We already had more than 30 carts and were able to borrow six more from Juneau Public Libraries. The cart system allowed us to keep our materials on the shelves until the move actually started, which was important since we closed our doors on Friday, April 15, and started moving Monday, April 18.
Full, wrapped carts waiting to be loaded onto the truck for transport to the new building. Photo by Ginny Jacobs.

Our staff and volunteers were split into three teams, one unshelving in the old building, one shelving in the new building, and one managing the traffic flow, which meant directing movers, operating the freight elevators, and communicating between the teams. This arrangement allowed staff to do all of the handling of books and other collections. Two movers wrapped the carts with pallet wrap, pushed the full carts from the old library into the truck and from the truck to the new Reading Room.
State Librarian Linda Thibodeau and Library Assistant Ginny Jacobs unshelve books in the old building. Photo by Amy Carney.

We did have a few mishaps, which informed us how to fine-tune our systems. A couple of times the books fell off a cart in transit, which meant that they had to be carefully reordered before going on the shelf. One small cart had a catastrophic caster failure where the wheel cracked in half. Two brand new carts ended up with bent casters, which will need to be replaced before they can be safely used again. But overall, we were thrilled with how well the process worked and were able to move our collections in half the time we originally scheduled.
According to the manufacturer, casters may be damaged, like this one, when moved over door thresholds with under heavy loads. These casters will be replaced before being used in the Library.

We can't wait to show off our beautiful new Reading Room after the Father Andrew P. Kashevaroff State Library, Archives, and Museum opens on June 6. We hope to see you there, browsing an Alaskan newspaper, doing research from our microfilm, or just enjoying the view.
The view from our new home to our old one through one of many large windows in the Richard Foster Reading Room.

Finally, a huge thanks to Juneau Public Libraries for sharing their expertise, staff, and book carts with us! We're so lucky to have such a fantastic library community here in Juneau.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Save the date for our grand opening, June 6, 2016!

The Father Andrew P. Kashevaroff State Library, Archives, and Museum will celebrate its grand opening on June 6, 2016. After years of planning, developing, and moving, we are so excited to reopen as an integrated facility in our beautiful new building.
SLAM pictured on April 7, 2016. Just two more months until we're open to the public!

June 6 is a significant day for us and for Alaska. On June 6, 1900, U.S. Congress passed the Alaska Bill or Alaska Civil Code, a massive piece of legislation that created a civil government for Alaska. The Alaska Bill became Chapter 786 of Session 1 of the 56th Congress. It created three judicial districts, based in Juneau, Saint Michaels, and Eagle City. It outlined the powers of the governor, which included everything from appointing the notary public to managing the sealing industry to leading the militia. It set taxes, moved the capital from Sitka to Juneau, and established the district historical library and museum.
ALASKA BILL HAS PASSED. Daily Alaska Dispatch, June 12, 1900.

The original district historical library and museum was funded by fees paid by lawyers admitted to the bar and by commission fees for notaries, which were both ten dollars. The library and museum was charged with collecting and maintaining "copies of all laws relating to the district, and all papers and periodicals published within the district, and such other matter of historical interest...The collection shall also embrace such curios relating to aborigines and the settlers as may be by the governor deemed of historical importance."

Father Andrew P. Kashevaroff was the first dedicated curator and librarian of the Alaska Historical Library and Museum. He was appointed by Governor Thomas Riggs and led the institution from 1919 until his death in 1940. Alaska State Library Historical Collections, PCA 243-3-007.
When Alaska became a territory in 1912, the district historical library and museum became the territorial library and museum, and eventually the Alaska State Historical Library and Alaska State Museum. The Information Services section of the Alaska State Library was added in 1955 to support research in the territory and the Alaska State Archives was created in 1970. All the entities joined together as the Division of Libraries, Archives, and Museums in 1991, and 2016 will be the first time that we will be together in one facility.

Please join us in celebrating the beginning of the next chapter for the Alaska State Library, Archives, and Museum. We look forward to seeing you on our 116th birthday, June 6, 2016!

Monday, March 7, 2016

Alaska State Archives releases Iditarod collection

The Alaska State Archives recently posted a collection of records of Territorial Governor Scott C. Bone relating to the 1925 serum run to Nome, which served as the inspiration for today's Iditarod sled dog race.
Governor Scott C. Bone, 10th Governor of the Territory of Alaska, 1921-1925. Alaska State Library Historical Collections, PCA 274-3-1.

The story of the serum run is well-known throughout Alaska. Diphtheria hit the isolated town of Nome during the coldest part of winter, sparking an epidemic that killed five people and had the potential to infect the region. The area's lone doctor, Curtis Welch, sent out telegrams pleading for fresh supplies of the diphtheria antitoxin. Bad winter weather discouraged the use of planes, so the serum was delivered by sled dog relay, running the 674 miles from Nenana to Nome in a record 5 days, 7 hours. Gunnar Kaasen and his lead dog, Balto, ran the last leg, bringing the serum into Nome on February 2, 1925.
Gunnar Kasson [Kaasen] & Balto in their race to Nome. Alaska State Library Historical Collections Portrait File.

Archivist Zach Jones writes, "These records consist of the original correspondence files of Territorial Gov. Scott C. Bone, whose telegrams and correspondence provide day-by-day documentation of the 1925 Serum Run and those who participated." The urgency of the correspondence is palpable in the terse telegrams and one can only imagine the helplessness that Gov. Bone must have felt trying to aid his constituents from far-away Juneau.
Telegram from Nome, January 27, 1925, requesting that the dog team continue beyond Ruby until meeting the next team. "OUR TEAM LEAVING NOME TODAY WITH LEONARD [Leonhard] SEPPALA SWEEPSTAKES RACE WINNER DRIVING LIGHT." Alaska State Archives SR726-VS243

Primary source records like these add a rich dimension to the story of the Iditarod. Although improvements in transportation and information technology have made Alaska seem like a smaller place, the challenges of providing access to health care, resources, and information to its far corners persist today.

Learn more:

Friday, February 26, 2016

How to move a library: Microforms

Now that it's 2016, our move is just around the corner. The Alaska State Library's Information Services section will be the last of our Division to move into the Father Andrew P. Kashevaroff State Library, Archives, and Museum. The latest word is that we will start moving in mid-April, and the facility should be ready to open by mid-May.
The APK building looking great on February 24, 2016. The only things missing from the front of the building are the doors, which are plywood.

Right now, we're preparing all of our microfilm and microfiche cabinets for refurbishing. We'll use them in the new building, but they need to be emptied so they can get cleaned, touched up, and painted. We will pack all the film and fiche in boxes and store them on pallets until moving time, so some of our microforms will be inaccessible for a few months. The Alaska newspaper microfilm, our most-used microform collection, will be the last packed and the first unpacked.
Library assistant Ginny Jacobs transfers a row of microfiche from drawer to box.

If the microfiche got out of order, it would be a major headache. To minimize the risk of a fiche-catastrophe, we ordered specially-sized boxes that fit one row of fiche. An additional benefit to this method is that one of these boxes is about as heavy as our staff would want to heft around. Each box is 6 inches tall and 6 inches wide, in three different lengths (16, 22, and 28 inches) to accommodate our varying cabinet sizes. Since fiche is about 5x6 inches, there's an inch of space at the top. That inch of air causes some concern that the boxes might crush during transport. We've arranged them like Lincoln Logs on the pallet for maximum stability, and will report back when we find out how it goes.
This pallet of microfiche is stacked, wrapped, labeled, and ready for moving. Although it looks like a small pallet-load, it is surprisingly heavy!

For microfilm, we are less concerned with interfiling, since the reels are in boxes. All of our cabinets are approximately the same length, so we ordered 28x12x6 inch boxes to accommodate three rows of microfilm. Although the drawers are five rows across, boxes for five rows would have been unwieldy and expensive. We've packed all of our federal and national newspaper microfilm, and it worked like a dream.

We purchased these boxes from ULINE, which has an impressive selection of sizes and shapes. All of the boxes we picked are top-loading, to make packing and unpacking easy. We considered modifying regular file boxes, like the AAA ones frequently used for moving offices, but found that it wouldn't save us money and would greatly slow down the packing process.

In other move news, we've selected locations for some of the notable features from our State Office Building location. The large relief map of Alaska that is hanging behind the Library's reference desk will be relocated to the OWL room in the new facility. The Rie Muñoz mural above the microfilm readers will move to the second floor atrium, near the Division's administration offices. Visitors will still be able to enjoy these favorites in their new home.
This relief map has been popular with Library visitors for years. It will be on view in the new Library and will make a great backdrop for OWL videoconferences.