Acquisitions Librarian Jamie Seemiller writes about collection development and how it relates to the Women's March on Denver, held in January of this year.
"On Saturday, January 21, 2017, over 100,000 people flooded the streets in downtown Denver to protest. The Women’s March on Denver was one of many marches held across the country in collaboration with the Women’s March on Washington. The march itself took place at the doorstep of the Denver Public Library. As the Acquisitions Archivist in the Western History and Genealogy Department (WHG), I felt that this event gave us a unique opportunity to reach new donors and preserve the history of the event.
The following Sunday, we posted a donation call on the WHG Facebook page. The post reached 25,440 people and was shared 234 times within the next few weeks. We received over 250 emails that resulted in donations of over 1,200 digital photos/videos, 105 protest signs and 12 pieces of ephemera such as 'pussy' hats, buttons, and artwork.
In an average year I have about 80 in-person donor meetings and receive several hundred emails and phone requests, so this kind of response was exciting and overwhelming. While we normally review every potential donation in a staff acquisitions committee meeting, we decided to forgo our normal procedure. We felt it was more important to encourage “citizen archivists” and engage with the community.
During the collecting phase, I corresponded with donors by email, phone and in person. I strived to have every donor sign a gift form and to give me background information about the items they were donating. In order to manage the flow of donors and materials coming into the library, we created two spreadsheets: one for the physical materials and one for digital donations. We had a volunteer inventory the physical materials. Meanwhile, I documented the digital donations and downloaded them to our server. Each individual donation was placed in a folder with the donor's name in order to track their provenance.
The next step was to appraise the collection. First, we decided to review any materials that did not have a gift form. For the digital material, any donation without a gift form was removed from the collection. This amounted to 18 donations and 160 digital photos. For the protest signs, we decided to keep signs that had a unique message or design. We kept 8 of the 40 signs that did not have gift forms.
Next, we discussed how to provide access to the collection. We agreed that we would like to have every donor represented in the online collection. We also decided that we could not keep everything, but by curating the donations one-by-one we could fully represent the event and the individual stories that brought people to the march. While appraising the digital material, a metadata spreadsheet for import into our digital collections and a priority list for digitization of the physical materials were created.
Any videos that were selected will be available on YouTube. We plan to share the collection with the public by hosting a program and exhibit in September and by having the digital materials online this summer."
For those of you that love statistics, here are our acquisitions for the first quarter, January-March, 2017:
Donor visits/meetings: 26
Collections reviewed by Staff Acquisitions Committee: 23 reviewed (17 collections accepted, 2 declined, 4 pending more information from donor, 0 purchase)
New donations and additions to existing collections: 25 (WH, CONS, new, additions to existing collections)
- Category 6 Bookstore (LGBT collection, new)
- City and County of Denver Zoning records (WH1744, addition)
- Colorado Cattlewomen (WH1806, addition)
- DAR Denver Chapter (WH934, addition)
- DEFEND (WH2226, addition)
- Denver skyline photos (new)
- Denver Walking Tours (M2235, new, 2 donations)
- Denver Women’s March (new WH2371, 74 signs, 12 items, 1,200 digital photos/videos)
- Denver Women's Republican Club (new)
- Hendrie Family (WH501, addition)
- Henry Lowenstein (WH1046, addition)
- Jay Mather photograph collection (WH2387, new)
- Jimmy Blouch papers (17 maps addition, WH2347)
- Lions Club (new)
- Lucia Guzman papers (WH2082, addition)
- Lynn Barnes photographs (new, undigitized photos addition)
- Mary Strangefield Davis, Crested Butte (new)
- Metro Club (WH1857, addition)
- Pat and Hugh McClearn (WH1316, addition to Denver Parks)
- Northwest Pipe Company (new, 2 donations)
- Phillips 66 photos (new)
- Washington Park Profile (addition, C Photo Collection 482)
- Harry family (WH2355, addition)