Not because of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame or because Drew Carey said it did, but for the initiative public library system in the city of Cleveland. Earlier this month I had the great opportunity to attend the annual summer field trip for the Ohio Digital Interest Group (Ohio DIG) this included a presentation about the creation of the Cleveland Digital Public Library, the Ohio stop of the First Folio tour, CPL’s Tech Center, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Archives and Library. In all, two days of library awesomeness that inspired and invigorated me about technology and public libraries.
I found out about Ohio DIG a over a year ago when I was networking and learning more about the library field in Ohio, particularly the Columbus area. My goal, at the time, was to find a librarian position in central Ohio since the area has some of the most innovative libraries in the nation. While I’m happy at the WV Library Commission, I still keep up with happenings with my neighbors in the Buckeye state. So, I remained on their listserv. Lucky for me I did and since the group is open to everyone, they let this non-Ohio librarian in the mix. Yay!
Cleveland Public Library (CPL)
The digital library project begin from the campaign to renew CLP’s levy and its 5-year master plan. This plan included five overall goals, two of which—to form communities of learning and to fight community deficits—were addressed through the creation of the digital library. A large part of accomplishing the creating communities of learning goal occurred by working with public K-12 schools to design digital projects and programs. Work in preserving cultural heritage, bringing awareness to the historical contributions of different ethnic communities within Cleveland, and increasing foot traffic downtown served to meet the fight community deficits goal.
The Digital Hub, Learning Commons, Touch Wall, Exhibitions, and Preservation Lab all make up CDLP and are located on the 3rd floor of the main library downtown. Equipment purchased for the Digital Hub‘s public service area came from a LSTA grant through Ohio Public Library Information Network (OPLIN) and the State Library of Ohio.
Programs and services
Outreach is a cornerstone of the CDLP’s mission, as a result, most of their programs and services are designed to engage the community. A large portion of CDLP’s service is offering use of equipment in the Digital Hub free to library patrons. Those wanting to use any of the scanners make an appointment in two-hour time blocks. A staff member trains patrons to use the equipment, which has a user-friendly interface.
Another method of outreach is through Common Heritage Projects. These projects are a means to make the digitization of materials a regional, local, and in some cases hyper-local showcase for unique items. Local organizations are encouraged and often sought out to bring in materials for digitization. There have been projects centered around local churches, civic clubs, veterans groups, community newspapers, historical societies, artists, and public schools.
Working with the city’s public schools was another part of CLP’s master plan; therefore, projects to aid teachers in creating and delivering lessons on the required Ohio history content were developed. Another interesting and local project was to digitize school newspapers and yearbooks.
Other community projects discussed in the presentation included an oral history with the local branches to tell the story of Cleveland’s ethnic areas, a VFW post that digitized letters to soldiers, and children’s art collected by several branches to display on CDPL’s Digital Fridge.
TechCentral and Special Collections
The rest of the day had tours of two other departments—TechCentral and Special Collections. TechCentral houses 90 public access computers and workstations for other services available in the center. MakerSpace has two 3D printers, vinyl printing and cutting equipment, large format printers computers, ipads and laptops for checkout, and music and video production software. Staff in TechCentral provide one-on-one computer assistance, larger classes related to software and equipment in the center, MakersLab (classes on tech related crafts), and a rapid mobile device charger.
Special Collections houses an array of unique materials but its primary focus is with collections of chess pieces and related items (Alice in Wonderland, for example). Additionally, folklore/mythology from many cultures, Orientalia, signed original documents from notable historical figures, miniature books, and rare books are in the collection as well. It is also the location for the Ohio stop of the William Shakespeare First Folio fifty state tour.
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Archives and Library
The second day of the field trip included a tour of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s Archives and Library. The facility is located in a different location from the Hall of Fame in downtown. The library is open to the public for research and use of materials; however, the entire collection is non-circulating. Anyone can obtain a library card. Research times are scheduled with staff or patrons may walk-in during public hours.
The archives department process donated collections from variety of sources such as defunct record studios, record industry executives, artists, media outlets, and collectors. In rare cases, some items are purchased through the Hall of Fame’s foundation. Items in the archives are used for both by researchers and for Hall of Fame museum displays.
There are two floors of climate controlled rooms where papers, recordings on several formats, publications, rare and autographed books, and other memorabilia are stored. Although the collection is non-circulating, there is a large selection of books on the main library floor. They also have databases, a substantial collection of serials, and commercially produced recordings ranging from records on 45 rpm, 33 rpm, 78 rpm, video, and compact discs. The Library’s website has an assortment of LibGuides for inductees, music movements, and other related subjects. http://library.rockhall.com/home/resources/research_guides