04 October 2015

October is Archives Month

During October each year we observe Archaeology Month, Archives Month, and Family History Month. Today’s theme is Archives Month.

Although the noun “archives” has several meanings, the definition most relevant to the management and daily operation of the BDC is “a facility in which records of permanent historical, cultural, or evidentiary importance are preserved, providing a means through which present and future generations may gain knowledge of and maintain continuity with the past.”

The Beaufort District Collection is a combination of a traditional library and a closed-stack archive. Customers can browse the materials in the public area of our Research Room but access to materials in the locked storage area occurs only through the staff. In other words, customers they are not permitted to browse the collections in the storage area. This measure is enforced to ensure the long-term protection of the special collections and archival materials.

Every day our staff of two manages archives of donated materials from individuals and organizations that demonstrate contributions of enduring local historical and cultural value to our area. Our new Preservation Associate, Ashley Sylva, is working hard to learn how we do things here in Beaufort County Library. She’s learning more each day about the array of resources we make available to the researchers who visit our facility or who access our digital offerings.

I have long been a member of the South Carolina Archival Association and I attended our Annual Conference on October 2nd in Columbia. The theme this year was "Connecting Archives With Your Community." Dr. Nic Butler, who’s presented local history programs here on The Planter and Fort Lyttelton, was the keynote speaker. His job at Charleston County Public Library is to build a bridge between a history hungry public and the resources in the Charleston Archive with the ultimate goal that the value and appreciation of archival resources will lead to sustained funding and preservation of critical materials. I picked up a few pointers on how to better connect the Beaufort District Collection resources with our history loving residents and visitors.  

A “Behind-the-Scenes" Tour is the best way to understand what it is we do in the Library system's special collections and archives unit. If you’re interested in getting a guided tour of our archives now is the time to schedule. October is the only time of the year that we offer tours of our closed stack area for individuals. Opportunities for tours occur on Oct. 15, 20, 21, 22, 27, 28, and 29. This is your chance to venture into the inner sanctum with BDC staff to see what goes on behind the closed and locked door! Members of the general public older than 12 who are interested in learning more about our holdings are welcome. To sign up: call 843-255-6468 or e-mail asylva@bcgov.net

We try to share facets of our work our Research Room displays and via social media.
·         On display now are selective items from our holdings on the topic of the USMC Recruit Depot Parris Island.
·         Be sure to keeping reading Connections and to make certain you see some of the “good stuff” we share through the Beaufort District Collection.  
·         Become our Facebook friend. I post something every work day about local history, Gullah culture, archaeology, genealogy or natural history.

Reminder: We have some adjustments to our customary public service schedule during the month of October. We close Noon to 1 pm for staff lunch on Monday, Oct. 5, Friday, Oct. 9 and Monday, Oct. 12. The entire Library system is closed all day Wednesday, Oct. 7 for Staff Development Day.

  Heads up: The next BDC local history program is "The Well-Dressed Marine of 1915" with Dave Smoot, Tuesday, October 20th at 6 pm in the Beaufort District Collection!

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