Thursday, June 14, 2018

Connecting Alaska through the Alaska Library Consortium

Last month, Fairbanks area libraries joined the Alaska Library Consortium, meaning that 92% of Alaskans can freely and easily share 3.2 million titles through one library catalog. For us, the addition of UAF Rasmuson Library is particularly exciting, since Rasmuson has an excellent Alaska collection, especially for materials about the interior and Arctic regions.

Each library in the Alaska Library Catalog has its own configuration. Although the materials are the same, using your home library's catalog has certain benefits. One is that your library will appear at the top of the locations list.
Alaska Library catalog record for Walter Harper: Alaska Native Son by Mary Ehrlander.
Many libraries in the catalog have this book, Walter Harper: Alaska Native Son. Although there's one at the State Library, it's in Historical, so it's only available for in-library use. To check it out, you need to request it from another library.

To request this book from another library, click on "Place Hold" on the right, enter your library card number and PIN, and designate your pickup library. Then one of the libraries will find it on their shelves, package it up, and mail it to your local library for you to pick up. When it arrives, you'll get a phone call or email depending on how your account is set up. If you don't know your PIN, you can ask your favorite librarian to look it up.

If you're impatient and don't want to wait for an item to be mailed, you can limit search results to local results only. The catalog knows that there are three systems in Juneau, the State Library, Juneau Public Libraries, and UAS Egan Library (Sealaska Heritage Institute is also included, but their books cannot be checked out). The Juneau area libraries use a courier to transport items between libraries and it usually takes just one or two days for a Juneau item to be delivered.
The collections dropdown menu on the Alaska State Library's catalog page.
Selecting Juneau area libraries means you can see what's available in your area. You can also limit the results to your library, or Alaska Digital Library for e-books and audiobooks.

Want a little help navigating the Alaska library catalog? Visit your library and ask for a quick tutorial. We're happy to help you borrow more books, DVDs, audiobooks, and music than ever! The joint catalog also means that if you're traveling, you can use your local library card at any of the libraries in the consortium, and you can return your books or DVDs to any of the 87 libraries.

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.