Monday, September 28, 2015

Getting ready for our move

 The Alaska State Library will join the Archives, Historical Collections, and Museum in the Kashevaroff State Library, Archives, and Museum next spring. Although our move is months away, it's never too early to start planning.
Father Andrew P. Kashevaroff State Library, Archives, and Museum during construction.
The exterior of SLAM is mostly complete. Crews are working on the interiors and on landscaping the courtyard now.

One of the first decisions we made was to split our staff into two main teams, one in charge of the collections, including the books, periodicals, microfilm, and maps, and one responsible for the offices, like the files, furniture, supplies, and other paraphernalia that make an office run smoothly. This division allows our small staff to focus on more manageable pieces of the move rather than needing to be involved in everything. It's a lesson we learned from the Alaska State Museum's move last summer.

We've also been working on de-cluttering our lives. That means going through old files, sending reams of paper to recycling, dumping broken equipment, and surplussing unnecessary furniture. Much of the furniture will move with us to the new building, but not everything. Since the work spaces in SLAM will conform to the Alaska space standards, we all need to consolidate our work areas. We're having a contest to find the oldest unnecessary paperwork in our files.
Although not the oldest we've found, this triplicate form for ILL statistics from 1992 did not make the cut to come over to SLAM with us.

The downsizing effort extends to our collections, which we've weeded extensively. For non-library folks, that means removing outdated or little-used materials from the library collection to make room for new stuff. We had held onto VHS and cassette collections but finally decided it was time to get rid of the non-Alaskan ones.

Since Murphy's Law is always in effect, we've had two big influxes to our library recently. The first is a large collection from the Department of Transportation library in Fairbanks. The DOT library consists of 22,500 items and was previously housed at Mather Library at University of Alaska Fairbanks. Although not everything will come here to the Alaska State Library, it is still a significant collection that will get integrated. The second is a reference collection from the Alaska State Museum. When the Museum closed last year, its reference collection was boxed up and put into storage. This collection consists of museology and Alaska history materials that will be particularly relevant to patrons of SLAM. We're excited to introduce both these collections in our new space.
Seventy-two boxes of books from the Alaska State Museum will get added to our collection prior to the move.
We'll keep you posted about the lessons we learn related to the move as it progresses. We're busy researching moving plans, picking supplies, and measuring our collections now.

Monday, September 21, 2015

How much is the 2015 PFD?

Governor Walker announced today that the 2015 PFD will be the largest in history by three whole dollars. Palmer middle school student Shania Sommer presented the amount, $2,072.

Here are the amounts for the past eight years.

2015 $ 2,072.00
2014 $1,884.00
2013 $900.00
2012 $878.00
2011 $1,174.00
2010 $1,281.00
2009 $1,305.00
2008 $2,069.00

We previously posted the amounts for 2002-2007. The payment amounts since 1982 can be found at the Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation website.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Closing some doors and keeping one open

As we prepare for the opening of the Kashevaroff State Library, Archives, and Museum next year, our Division's public areas have gradually closed. The Alaska State Museum closed in February 2014 to prepare for the collections transfer and building demolition. The Alaska State Archives closed their research room in the spring of 2015 after moving their records to the new collections vault. The Historical Collections reduced their hours so that staff can pack and move the books, negatives, photographs, and maps.
The centennial Alaska State Museum being torn down.
The Alaska State Museum closed in February 2014 so the building could be demolished and the new galleries and reading rooms are being constructed on the site. Photo by Damon Stuebner.

Alaska State Library's Information Services will be the last section to move into the new building, and is now the only one of our Division's research areas open to the public. We can help you request historic Alaskana items from other libraries, view Alaska newspaper microfilm, and recommend ways to get the information that you need while our Division's other sections are closed. We're on the 8th floor of the State Office Building across from the bear and the Waasgo totem pole.
The entrance to the State Office Building on the corner of Calhoun and Fourth.
If you walk in this door of the State Office Building, the Information Services section is on your right. If you come from Willoughby, take the elevator to the 8th floor and walk past the snack bar and the organ.

We have also started Historical Reference service on Thursdays and Fridays from 1:00-4:30 pm. Historical Collections staff will be on hand to answer your Alaska questions, help with research, and bring historic Alaska books, photos, and other materials from the new storage vault for you to peruse in the Information Services Reading Room. We hope you'll come by!
Historic photo showing a Public Reading Room.
You too can find MINING INFORMATION, ALASKA MAPS, and the LATEST PERIODICALS at the public reading room of the Alaska State Library, still open on the 8th floor of the State Office Building. Alaska State Library - Historical Collections PCA 277-023-005.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

What was the equivalent of counties in Alaska before boroughs were created at statehood?

Prior to the creation of boroughs, it seems that there really wasn’t anything analogous to counties in Alaska, but perhaps the closest things were judicial districts. There were three, and later four, judicial districts, and they did take care of some administration responsibilities for their areas. You can find more information on this at the Alaska History and Cultural Studies website from the Alaska Humanities Forum.

Melville C. Brown was the first judge of the Division No. 1 district, which covered southeast Alaska. Alaska State Library - Historical Collections, Brown-Melville-C.
Arthur H. Noyes was the first judge of the Division No. 2 district for western Alaska. Noyes used his position to jump claims and was removed from the judgeship in 1902. Alaska State Library - Historical Collections, Noyes-Arthur-H-1.

James Wickersham, who later went on to be Alaska's congressional delegate, was the first judge of the Division No. 3 district for interior and southcentral Alaska. This district was later divided into two separate districts. Alaska
State Library - Historical Collections, ASL-Wickersham-James-1.

As mentioned, there are currently four judicial districts. You can find them listed, with the courts located within each, at the Alaska Court System website.