Ohio Memory

Ohio Memory’s Lily Birkhimer, Jenni Salamon, Kristen Newby and Jillian Ramage

Q: Where can you find the largest collection of Ohio newspapers, images of WWI black infantry soldiers and photographs of early 20th Century daily life…online…in one place?

A: Ohio Memory

This month, we had the pleasure of meeting members of the Ohio Memory team. Ohio Memory is managed collaboratively between Ohio History Connection and the State Library of Ohio. The dynamic online resource helps communities share, discover and connect to Ohio’s rich history.

Located in the Ohio History Center, Ohio Memory supports a variety of projects. They partner with 365 institutions across 88 counties in the state and provide a subscription program for 35 members (including many libraries), supporting those organizations in digitizing and sharing historical photos, yearbooks, local newspapers, ephemera and more. In fact, Ohio Memory contains over 700,000 digital images!

 

Grants fund important digitization projects. Little Stories of the Great War: Ohioans in World War I was made possible by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). Through prestigious NEH grant funding, Ohio Memory gives greater awareness to Ohio’s contributions, features content from fifteen cultural heritage institutions across Ohio and provides lesson plans for teachers. Kristen Newby coordinates efforts for this project and told fascinating stories about what she’s learned. She digitized images from Ross County’s Camp Sherman, including images of an all-black military band as well as the camp’s library, the only non-segregated area of the camp. Kristen also uncovered incredible letters from the soldiers, including one that revealed the discovery of a German spy!

 

Newspaper collections are reviewed (and sometimes ironed) before they are sent for digitization

The team is working in partnership with Chronicling America to digitize Ohio newspapers as part of a national initiative and have contributed over 400,000 pages to that website by the end of 2018. Jenni Salamon leads the effort and explained reading newspapers from Ohio’s early days gives readers an interesting perspective. Researchers and the curious can learn what the political climate was like then and how much things have and have not changed today. In addition to Chronicling America, Ohio Memory’s newspaper collection contains over 360,000 pages of free-to-access content, many of which came from the Ohio History Connection’s hardcopy and microfilm holdings, which comprise the largest collection of Ohio newspapers in the world!

 

Glass plate photo negatives from an Ohio Memory collection

Lily Birkhimer manages content and outreach for Ohio Memory. She is responsible for training institutional partners, managing metadata, public inquiries and online selection. Lily is currently digitizing glass plate negatives from the Albert J. Ewing Collection. These delicate materials provide a detailed glimpse into our past. Lily records written information on the plates and their sleeves, and she leverages census information to fill in the gaps and create connections that may have otherwise been lost.

Other Ohio Memory projects include preservation of materials from the Zoar community, LGBTQ collections and information for a World Heritage project. The team contributes weekly to their blog, where you can learn more about special items from the collection and read about topics relevant to current events.

There’s so much to explore and discover. As they are always adding new resources, we’ll be taking a closer look at Ohio Memory, and we hope you do too!

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Learn more about the State Library of Ohio and Ohio Memory’s Shannon Kupfer at our 2014 feature here.

Little Libraries 2017

We are excited to announce that United Way of Central Ohio has funded another two little free libraries for our Libraries Everywhere program!

This year we are collaborating with the King Arts Complex to honor artist Aminah Robinson.  We project to have the little free library in place at King Arts by early autumn, and we’re thrilled to be working with artist and former Robinson mentee, Bryan Christopher Moss, to paint Aminah’s portrait on the library.

Our second UWCO-funded little free library will go into Columbus’ Milo-Grogan neighborhood.  We are currently in discussion with resident and Melanincholy Fest Founder Apollo Akembe to bring to life a unique library honoring a special, long-time resident of the area, his grandmother.

For both libraries, we will partner again with Rebuilding Together Central Ohio and Half Price Books.  We are also excited for a new collaboration with The Conscious Connect to ensure we continue to provide diverse materials for a diverse audience.

 

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Last July, we featured some amazing little libraries and community leaders who helped create them.  Our Street Art Library was born from a partnership with Transit Columbus and Placemakes for their Cherry Street project.  We are excited for our Street Art Library to be placed near The Lookout Shop starting this August.

 

We also started mapping little libraries beyond what is recorded at LittleFreeLibrary.org, and we encourage others to continue to add to our Little Library Google Map.

 

This year, we had an incredible experience at Columbus, Ohio’s Community Festival (ComFest).  We are honored that our Eco Library was chosen to receive funding from ComFest among such important community peers like Camp Lionheart and others.

We had an estimated 500+ conversations with festival participants, and we reached thousands who walked by or viewed our online posts.  We were touched by the stories that participants shared with us like how the book Double Fudge transformed a young man’s life and how a being born and raised (BAR) by a black single mother (BAR) inspired another man.

In addition to the grant, the Eco Library was made possible by the generosity and a ton of sweat equity by Half Price Books (Jeff Heydinger), The Lookout Shop (Justin Withrow), Lucida Dynamics (Doug Houdeshell) and Rebuilding Together Central Ohio (their entire amazing staff).

 

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We are thrilled that the Eco Library’s permanent home is now with 934 Gallery.  The gallery focuses on bringing a fresh perspective to contemporary art through exciting and thought-provoking exhibitions, installations, performances and public art projects.  Come meet Cbus Libraries’ co-founder, Bryan Loar, at this year’s 934 Fest on July 22 as we dedicate the library in honor of Daniel Sebastian Loper.


We are humbled by the overwhelmingly positive response to our little libraries, and we are inspired by the creativity and personal stories of our communities.  We hope to see you soon!

 

 

Columbus Business First

Columbus Business First provides valuable business, leadership and industry information.  Central Ohioans and those seeking to learn more can use the news to make important business decisions, understand industry front runners and learn more about Central Ohio executives and rising leaders. The paper, owned by American City Business Journals (ACBJ), offers an insightful weekly publication and a variety of other resources including The Book of Lists, Forty Under 40 awards, daily and breaking news emails and other business awards.

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Columbus Business First monthly publications

Research Director Robin Smith creates, edits and manages the paper’s many lists which are featured in weekly publications and collected annually to form The Book of Lists.  Robin leverages the company’s proprietary database, commercial databases, public records and online surveys to gather and analyze data for the lists. Topics for the list are decided by Robin, the editorial staff and ACBJ. In 2016, The Book of Lists contained 72 lists, but the number varies from year to year, depending on the market and relevant topics. June’s featured list explores Ohio’s Craft Brewers.

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Reception at Columbus Business First

Robin shared her process for creating the lists. She sends surveys to businesses in the category of the list she is building six weeks in advance of the list’s publication date, and she follows up several times to ensure that the companies can participate. Information is self reported by the companies and verified through research and comparison from previous years. Lists are based on quantitative data and vary depending on the industry. Often, Robin works with the editorial staff when creating a list and stories related to the list subject are run in the same issue.

The job requires understanding and processing large amounts of data. Robin noted the largest list she complied examined 850 companies! As a member of an investigative reporting organization, she has learned new tips and tricks to help manage these kinds of data-intensive projects.

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Research Director Robin Smith

Robin began her career in graphic design and worked with Business First as an ad designer for six years. Later, she performed freelance research services and co-authored Ohio Then & Now: Contemporary Rephotography. Her research and time in libraries and archives sparked her interest, which led her to complete her master’s degree in library science.

Robin enjoys that her work provides difficult to attain information, demonstrating a valuable skill for many businesses and individuals. In addition to her research, she leads classes for Columbus Business First subscribers on how to harness the power of The Book of Lists. Interaction with users gives her the opportunity to learn first-hand the value of her work. One small business owner featured in the minority-owned business list shared her company’s clients significantly increased after being featured. Now that’s making a positive difference!

Companies and individuals use Columbus Business First’s information for sales, recruiting, purchasing decisions and many other research purposes.  The work of Robin Smith and Columbus Business First is crucial for many in our community.

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