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Our Streets Our Stories: Community Scanning Events

Jun 11, 2015 11:00 AM | 0 comments


In collaboration with the Metropolitan New York Library Council and Queens Library, the Brooklyn Collection will spend the next year hosting an exciting new project. As a recent winner of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation’s Knight News Challenge, “Culture in Transit” will be working to democratize the cultural heritage of New York City. Here in Brooklyn, we will be operating under the name “Our Streets Our Stories,” working closely with Brooklyn Public Library's ongoing oral history project of the same name. 

Our Streets Our Stories has a simple objective: to provide community members with the tools and technology to share their Brooklyn memorabilia and culture heritage materials with the world. Many items that can help tell Brooklyn’s story are sitting forgotten in apartments and basements all over the borough, being lost due to improper storage conditions and neglect. We want to encourage patrons to dig out these items and bring them to the library. We're looking for materials like photographs, fliers and documents from Brooklyn families, businesses, block parties, community organizations, and anything else that tells the story of Brooklyn.

Our mobile ditization lab, all packed and ready to go!

What makes this project different is that we're not looking to keep your items, just a digital copy. Here's how the project will work: Focusing on one neighborhood each month, we bring a mobile digitization lab (scanner, laptop and camera) to library branches and invite neighbors to bring in these items. Patrons don’t need any technical background; all scanning will be handled by us and our volunteers. Once digitized, all items will be returned to the patron, including a flash drive with digital copies. Patrons will also be invited to share copies with the Digital Public Library of America and on BPL’s own digital catalog.

Our Streets Our Stories isn't just about digital preservation. We want community members to be active participants in the effort to shape Brooklyn's history. By contributing and sharing materials they are choosing how their neighborhood will be represented and remembered, playing an important role in the democratization of culture heritage. This is a great opportunity to meet neighbors, share stories and engage with local history in a unique way. 

Scanning at the Brooklyn Collection

Our first scanning event is scheduled to coincide with Williamsburg's annual Giglio Feast, a weeklong celebration hosted by Our Lady of Mount Carml that dates back to the neighborhood's first Italian immigrants. The Leonard Library will be hosting us from 6 - 8pm on Tuesday, July 14th and 11am - 3pm on Saturday, July 18th. In addition to scanning, we will offer our donors the opportunity to participate in the Our Streets Our Stories oral history project, sponsored by the Department of Outreach Services. 

In the coming months we will be hosting scanning events at braches all over the borough; here's what we have planned so far:

July 14th and 18th: Leonard Library

August 29th: New Lots Library

September 30th and October 3rd: Kings Bay Library

October 20th and 24th: Flatbush Library

We hope to see you there! Don’t forget to keep up with our progress by following us on Twitter.