Tuesday, April 24, 2018

New hours for the Alaska State Library and Alaska State Archives

We're pleased to announce that the Richard Foster Reading Room of the Alaska State Library and the Research Center of the Historical Collections and Alaska State Archives will be open Mondays beginning on April 30, 2018. New hours are Monday through Friday from 10 am to 4 pm. The Library and Archives have been closed to the public on Mondays since September 2016, but recent additions to the staff have made it possible to restore Monday hours.
The Alaska State Library Reading Room.
Visitors can soon enjoy the Reading Room and access Library resources Monday through Friday. Photo by Lara Swimmer.

If you're working on a historical research project and even these increased hours do not work for you, or if you'll only be in Juneau on a Saturday this summer, the Library can offer a limited number of Saturday research appointments. Although we cannot guarantee that every request will be granted, we'll try our best to accommodate you. Find contact information in the LAM directory..

How does research at the Library and Archives work?

The materials in the Reading Room, including Alaska newspapers on microfilm, and in-library databases are readily available whenever the Library is open. Items from the Historical Collections and the Alaska State Archives are stored in climate-controlled secure storage and brought into the Research Center for viewing.
The interior of the Alaska State Library and Archives vault, showing tall rolling stacks with ledgers and records boxes.
Wayne pulls records boxes for researchers at the Alaska State Archives. Photo by Chris Arend.

You can search the Historical Collections through the Alaska Library Catalog or peruse a list of photograph and manuscript collections. A selection of photos, videos, and manuscripts are also available on Alaska's Digital Archives. The image below is a record from the Alaska Library Catalog for a VHS tape about the Treadwell Mine. In order to watch this video, write down the call number and come to the Research Center. A staff member will retrieve the item from the vault and wheel in a television and VCR for you to use. The same process is used for books, photograph collections, journals, and nearly all other materials.
Catalog record for video The Treadwell Mine.
Click on this image to see the record larger.

Records from the Archives are organized a little differently. Most of the records are arranged according to the agency that created them, like the Department of Fish & Game or the Office of the Governor, and then subdivided in various ways. Because each item is not individually described, researching at the Archives means flipping through a lot of folders and methodically going through boxes. Although it's less precise than searching the Library catalog, looking through records usually provides interesting context and research rabbit holes.

When you find something of interest, there are scanners and a photocopier for use in the Research Center. Copies are 10 cents a page and scans are free. You may bring your own USB drive or purchase one from the Library.

If you have a specific research topic or if there are many items that you'd like to look at, it's best to contact the Historical Collections or Archives in advance so that your requested materials can be retrieved and ready for you when you arrive. Working with a librarian or archivist before your visit usually results in a richer, more productive research session because he or she can help identify additional materials that may interest you.

What are the rules in the Research Center?

The Research Center has three main rules of which researchers should be aware. The first is that food and drinks, including water, are not allowed, to protect collections from pests and damage. The second is that bags need to be kept in lockers in the Reading Room or behind the Research Center desk. Third, pens are prohibited to minimize the risk of transferring inks to collections. Pencils are provided.

Research Center of the Alaska State Library Historical Collections and Alaska State Archives.
The Research Center is open to everyone and is staffed by experts from the Historical Collections and Archives.

If you'd like a more relaxed research experience, covered drinks and pens are allowed in the Reading Room, and the study tables have task lights and outlets to charge your devices. We look forward to assisting with your research!

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

What's happening at the APK?

There's a lot going on here at the Father Andrew P. Kashevaroff (APK) State Library, Archives, and Museum, and it can be hard to keep up with events, exhibits, and special opportunities. Fortunately, you have a lot of options for how to stay informed and can select the one that works for you.

In Your Inbox
At the APK & SJM newsletter
A monthly e-mail newsletter that comes out around the middle of each month, so January's came out in mid-December and February's will come out in mid-January. If you just want a minimalist listing of events coming up, this is the one for you.

Exhibits and Events listserv
Receive digital postcards for events in your inbox. These usually go out a week or two before the event and include exhibit openings, youth art activities, and other LAM-sponsored events. I like these because they have images and information about individual events as they approach.

Press Releases
You can receive notifications when new press releases are posted by entering your email and subscribing on the press releases page. Press releases include upcoming events, hours changes, artist calls for entry, public meetings, and other announcements. They usually have more background information than other formats.

New at State Library listserv
A very low-frequency list aimed at state employees who want to know about training opportunities, events, and new resources to help them do their jobs. We usually limit event notices on this list to ones that are available statewide through videoconferencing.

On the Web or On the Air
KINY Capital Chat
We have a monthly slot on KINY's Capital Chat where we run down what's coming up at the APK. It's usually on the last Tuesday of the month, but the schedule may vary. If you miss it on the air, you can find it on demand at KINY's Capital Chat.

KTOO Juneau Afternoon
Our presenters are frequently guests on Juneau Afternoon shortly before an event. This may include solo artists before their exhibit openings, authors giving book lectures, or occasionally one of our staff.

APK Calendar
A basic calendar that lists upcoming events. There is not a way to receive notifications when new items are added, but it's a place to check if you want to see what's coming up.

Through Social Media
If social media is your method of choice, you've got options.

The Library and Archives' Facebook account posts the most consistently and includes all events sponsored by the Library, Archives, and Museum as well as the Friends of the Alaska State Library, Archives, and Museum. The Museum's business account is usually limited to museum events.

Library & Archives: @AKStateLibrary
Museum: @AlaskaStateMuse

Although not usually used for event notifications, our Division has two Instagram accounts.
Museum: @alaskastatemuseum
Alaska Digital Newspaper Project: @alaskahistoricalnewspapers

We also post to the JAHC's Community Calendar and often our events are picked up by the Juneau Empire or Capital City Weekly.

Not sure if an event is happening in our building? Sometimes other organizations host public events in our building that we're not associated with, so not everything gets listed or posted. But if you give us a call, we can often find the details. All of our contact info is available on the LAM website..

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Fun times at the Fun with the Family Fair

Last week, we hosted the first ever Library, Archives, and Museum joint family day, the Fun with the Family Fair. Since we moved into our new building, the Father Andrew P. Kashevaroff State Library, Archives, and Museum, we've been trying to find ways to better collaborate with each other and to share our collections with Alaskans.

The Friends of the Alaska State Library, Archives, and Museum apply annually for a youth activity grant through the City and Borough of Juneau's Youth Activities program. This grant supports free opportunities for young people to learn artistic techniques from professional working artists and to connect with the exhibits and collections of the Library, Archives, and Museum.
Kids at the workshop with Daniel.
Solo Artist Daniel Papke led a collage painting workshop in November 2017. Here, participants share their creations and their funniest faces.

The family fair was an extension of that program, but unlike most of the workshops, was completely homegrown. Our Division Operations Manager Lisa Golisek worked with doll artist Mary Ellen Frank to create chenille stem people, sled dogs, as well as kuspuks, robes, parkas, and accessories inspired by Alaska Native regalia and outerwear. This activity is a perennial favorite and frequently requested by our youth activity participants and parents.
              Volunteer Anne Fuller helps participants create chenille stem sled dogs.             
Sandy Johnston, Historical Library Assistant II, helps a young man create a chenille stem person.
Jackie Manning, Museum Curator of Exhibits, demonstrates how to make a kuspuk for the chenille stem figures.

Archivist Leah Geibel created a design your own flag activity based on the territorial flag competition in 1927, when 13-year old Benny Benson designed the eight stars of gold. A basic flag template, some submissions from the competition, and a few boxes of crayons were all that were needed for this station. It was great to have an activity appropriate for very young children.
Leah shows some samples from the territorial flag competition to some young flag designers.

Our Historical Collections has a great collection of early 3-D photo cards called stereograms or stereographs. These souvenir cards had two images taken from slightly different angles so that they create a 3-D effect when viewed with a stereogram viewer, and often featured stories or information on the back. Library Assistant Jacki Swearingen has worked extensively with the stereogram collection, even transforming some of them into anaglyphs, 3-D images viewed with red-blue glasses. She shared a selection of her favorites from the collection, many of which are more than 100 years old.
This is one of many stereogram cards from our collection. It shows President and Mrs. Harding visiting Metlakatla in 1923. Alaska State Library, PCA 418-22.

Kids created their own stereograms by setting up a diorama and then taking two pictures of the scene with a digital camera. These photos were then imported into Photoshop, dropped into a template with the arches, slightly edited by our volunteer Photoshop master Carl Brodersen, then printed. These were then cut out, glued onto cards, and tested out on the stereoviewer. We were amazed that they worked every time!
After the scenes were set up, the photos were taken, formatted, and printed, kids created their own stereogram card. These two even wrote stories for the reverse side.

Newspapers are a big part of our collections, and Technical Services Librarian Ginny Jacobs helped kids find the newspaper from the day they were born. We also had a newspaper printing station where kids could create their own paper using newsprint and rubber stamps. That turned out to be the messiest station!
Ginny looks over the newspaper production area after showing kids the newspaper from their birthdays.

Historic salmon can labels from the Alaskan canning industry are one thing that is held in all of our collections. Museum Registrar Andrew Washburn created templates and led children in an exploration of marketing and graphic design techniques. They even got to take their designs home on their own cans.
          Andrew offers options to participants ready to affix their labels to their cans.         

One station that was unexpectedly popular was a create-your-own-activity, which we stocked with magazines, glue sticks, colored paper, scissors, and crayons. Kids let their imaginations run free and came up with their own works of art.

Thanks to everyone who came by on their last day of winter break to spend the afternoon with us at the family fair! We had such a fun day with all of you. To find out about our next youth activity, visit our youth art activity web page.

The youth activity program at the APK is sponsored by the Friends of the Alaska State Library, Archives, and Museum and is partially funded by the citizens of the City and Borough of Juneau through sales tax revenues.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Using Alaska newspapers for research

A few months ago, Alaska's National Digital Newspaper Project Coordinator Leah Geibel wrote us a guest post about the first batch going online. Now that we've had a chance to explore the site a little more, we're very excited to put it to use.

The Alaska State Library has one of the most complete collections of Alaska newspapers on microfilm, and they are fantastic primary resources that document the lives of 19th, 20th, and 21st century Alaskans. However, anyone who's tried it will tell you that searching through microfilm is a long and tedious process. Librarians and historians in the past have done great work creating indexes to make the newspaper collection accessible, and we continue to use those resources nearly every day. Betty Miller's incredible five-volume masterpiece, Vital Records from Alaska Daily Empire 1916-1936, is a lifesaver for researchers. But what if you're less interested in the birth, death, and marriage information and want more day-to-day articles?

Mickey and Issie Goldstein eating lunch on ice at Auk [sic] Lake 1916. Alaska State Library Historical Collections, PCA 329-30.
That's where the digitized newspapers on Chronicling America can help. We recently looked into the life of former Juneau mayor Isadore Goldstein. There was a brief entry in Biographies of Alaska-Yukon Pioneers and our Historical Collections had a slim biography file on him. There were also a few pictures of him on the Alaska Digital Archives, which is certainly more than you'd find in your average genealogy search. But searching the Alaska newspapers on Chronicling America provides 100 results that shed more light on Mr. Goldstein's life as a young man and on Juneau's history.

Isa Goldstein returned with the launch Grace E. last night from a hunting expedition. He was hunting furs and was very successful, too. somebody killed two big grizzly bear, because Isa brought the skins home. Two of these skins are enormous in size, one is at least 11 feet long. They are both beautiful specimens.
This short article about Goldstein's grizzly bear hunt is from the Alaska Daily Empire from June 17, 1913.
Friends of Isadore Goldstein have nicknamed him "Willie Burns." Isa had an experience this morning of which he is saying but little. Doc Hamberg, who aided and abetted Mr. Goldstein, also has but little to say about it. Both of the sleuths feel that enough has been said already. At any rate, it happened thus: At 3 o'clock this morning Mr. Goldstein heard someone try to enter the Fairbanks restaurant, located opposite his apartments, over the Goldstein store, in Front Street. Isa seized his trusty gatling gun and warped across the street. He saw a man tinkering with the cash register in the restaurant, and after examining the gun to see if it were properly loaded, waited for his quarry. Finally the burglar came out. "Stick up your dukes," Goldstein commanded, and up went the bad man's mitts. "Say you big tramp, I'm one of the proprietors of this restaurant," the man explained, hands aloft. "I forgot the cash in the register when we closed up last night, and it worried me, so I came down to get it." Down went the gun, and down came the hands. Mr. Goldstein meanwhile instructed Hamberg, his room-mate, to phone the police. The bluecoats were not needed, however. The most unkind incident in connection with the capture, according to Mr. Goldstein, was the accusation, by the restaurant man, that Mr. Goldstein "must have been intoxicated."
On August 13, 1915, the Alaska Daily Empire described Goldstein's late-night attempt to prevent a "robbery."

Eagle-eyed readers may have noticed that sometimes Mr. Goldstein's first name is abbreviated to Isa. To capture both variants, you can use Chronicling America's Advanced Search features. You can also search phrases or for terms within 5-100 words from each other.
Screenshot of the Chronicling America search interface.
Entering "Isa Isadore" in the first box and "Goldstein" in the second box brings up results with (Isa OR Isadore) AND Goldstein.

Chronicling America features a selection of Alaska newspapers published before 1923, an interesting time in Alaska's history. It includes the gold rush, the Alaska Organic Acts, World War I, and the sinking of the Princess Sophia. We look forward to more pages and more titles being added as the project continues.

For more information about Alaska's National Digital Newspaper Program, visit our historical newspapers site, or follow the project's blog or Instagram at @alaskahistoricalnewspapers.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

At the APK makes its television debut!

We're excited to announce our new television series, At the APK, created in partnership with KTOO-TV and 360 North. The series showcases events that take place in our building, the Father Andrew P. Kashevaroff (APK) State Library, Archives, and Museum that relate to art, history, culture, literature, and education in Alaska. We are always looking for ways to reach out around the state and are thrilled about this opportunity to share our programs statewide through public access television. It also means that if you miss one of these events in our building, you'll be able to catch it on air or online at the At the APK page on 360 North..
Screenshot of the site for the At the APK program.
It's exciting to watch the At the APK page grow as more episodes are added.

We are currently making the first "season" of the show, which premiered on Alaska Day with Alaska State Writer Laureate Ernestine Saankaláxt’ Hayes presenting What Shall We Do With Our Heroes? Subsequent episodes air Thursdays at 8 pm on 360 North and include artist talks with carver and visual artist Jackson Polys, photographer Ben Huff, sculptor Annette Bellamy, Nimbus creator Robert Murray, and painter Daniel Papke. Authors are also represented by poet Joan Naviyuk Kane, novelist Don Rearden, playwright Vera Starbard, and Janet Collins, whose recent book On the Arctic Frontier tells the story of Arctic scientist and surveyor Ernest Leffingwell.

The KTOO team has been so much fun to work with and up for anything we want to try. When Annette Bellamy, one of the Alaska State Museum's 2017-2019 Solo Artists, wanted to lead an exhibit tour of her ceramic show Moving Mountains, the KTOO crew brought over cameras on pedestals and leapfrogged Annette and an audience of more than 50 people to beautifully capture her words and her monumental work. They've also helped us get the control booth in our lecture hall broadcast-ready and have mentored our staff in sound, lighting, and filming.

Still from the video of Annette Bellamy's gallery walkthrough of her exhibit, Moving Mountains.
Video of Moving Mountains, the featured piece in Annette's exhibit, captured its scale and movement better than a still image could.

This partnership has helped all of us think bigger about what we can do in our new building and how we can better share programs around the state and the world! Thanks to KTOO and to our former deputy director Bob Banghart for making this collaboration a reality.