Tuesday, February 15, 2011

My Favorite Individual Library History Webpages

On a previous post I identified my selection of the top 10 library history websites. Those websites were examples of sites that featured state or national library history and were not about the history of an individual library. In this post I have selected some of my favoite library history webpages for individual libraries.  I have looked at hundreds of library websites, and  I am constantly amazed at how library history on these websites is either non-existent, limited, or difficult to find. I recommend the two click method of displaying a library's history on its website. From the home page click on the "About" or the "About the Library" menu.  On that menu or page is where the "Library History" link should be located and another click on that link should get you to at least a brief history of the library. A library's history is a public relations asset which can be available 24-7 on a website. Why not exploit it.  Large academic libraries are especially guilty of hiding or not featuring their history. Links to other library history websites and pages can be found on The Library History Buff website. Although I've looked at a lot of library websites there are thousands I haven't explored, let me know at nix@libraryhistorybuff.org if you are aware of a library website that does a good job of featuring its history on its website.

Library of Congress

It is not surprising that the Library of Congress, founded in 1800, does a great job of making its history available on its website. A lot of credit goes to John Cole who has been researching and publicizing the library's history for decades.

Library Company of Philadelphia

The Library Company of Philadelphia was founded by Benjamin Franklin and his friends 280 years ago (1731) and it tells the story of that history extremely well on its website.

New York Society Library

The New York Society Library, founded in 1754, is New York City's oldest library and it does a commendable job of telling its history on its website.

Eau Claire (Wisconsin) Public Library 

A library doesn't have to be large to do a good job of letting the public know about its heritage via its website. The Eau Claire Public Library (L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library) in Wisconsin is a good example of this.

Perrot Memorial Library
The Perrot Memorial Library in Old Greenwich, CT targets young people with this history of the library.

Enoch Pratt Free Library

The Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore, MD has a solid library history with good images on its website.

Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County

The Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County in North Carolina has been going through some rough times recently but it does a good job of highlighting its history on its website.

Nashville (TN) Public Library

The Nashville (TN) Public Library proclaims "A City With A Great Library Is A Great City". I started my library career there and am pleased with its reporting on its heritage.

Vanderbilt University Libraries

I like the way the website of the Vanderbilt University Libraries in Nashville, TN has a single page that features (and links to) the history of its various units/branches. On the websites of too many academic libraries you have to look for library history under their individual library buildings or units.

Cornell University Library

Although its difficult to find the history of the Cornell University Library on its website, I was especially impressed with the digital exhibit featuring Willard Fiske, Cornell's first librarian.

Edwardsville (IL) Public Library

The Edwardsville Public Library in Illinois developed a nice online video to celebrate its heritage. The link to the video is at the bottom of the page.

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