SSFPL History Room Receives Two Grants to Improve Access and Preservation

South San Francisco, CA  March 15, 2018  Submitted by SSF Library

The California Revealed Project is an initiative to help public libraries digitize historically significant local history. The grant process required that each item be “nominated” and strongly encouraged public libraries to partner with local heritage groups. The History Room staff identified items which are either too fragile for public use or told a unique story.

The History Room reached out to its sister organization, the South San Francisco Historical Society, and asked them to partner with us. Between the two organizations, the project will digitize more than three dozen audio cassettes containing oral histories of local residents whose parents were the city’s early movers and shakers. Without digitization these tapes would be unusable due to their fragile nature and fairly obsolete playback equipment.

In addition, the History Room is getting the following items digitized: five early (1896-1908) precinct registers, these voter lists contain physical descriptions, occupation and place of birth, all important information for anyone seeking family history information; four city directories (1907, 1929, 1938, and 1940) that reveal who lived where and what local business existed; the first five editions of the South San Francisco High School yearbook, The Iris (1917-1921); a 32-page 1914 booklet created by the South San Francisco Land and Improvement Company and appealing to industrialists to move their factories to the city; a 1918 report on development of the waterfront property belonging to Western Meat Company, the earliest industry to set up shop here.

And the final item is the first 32 years of the local newspaper, The Enterprise Journal. Although the library already has microfilm of this publication and the original paper copies, many of which are too fragile to use, digitizing this collection will make it searchable.

These digital collections will live on a page created for the SSFPL on the Internet Archive and on a California Revealed site where they will be publically accessible and searchable 24 hours a day. Keep your ears open for our announcement signaling the launch of the page.

The second award, which the History Room received this week, is under the California Preservation Assessment Project and is designed to help libraries care for their local historical collections. This grant will help the History Room develop a plan for collection care so that our historical assets will be around for future generations. The assessment consists of a site visit by a preservation expert, meeting with staff and a final report containing findings, recommendations, and priorities. This report will greatly enhance the library’s ability to solicit implementation grants in the future. History is important and the History Room is making sure our local vibrant history is accessible and well preserved.

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