By Rick Palsgrove
The Columbus Metropolitan Library will celebrate Black History Month in February by seeking historical contributions from the community and with family-friendly programming.
The Main Library, 96 S. Grant Avenue, Columbus, will host a scanning event on Feb. 4 at 10:30 a.m. for people to bring in their photos and historical documents to be scanned and preserved in the library’s African-American Digital Collection.
According to Columbus Metropolitan Library officials, musician Arnett Howard, a major contributor to the collection, will share his own collection at the event. Members of the famed Tuskegee Airmen will also attend to share their stories of sacrifice, struggle, and determination during World War II.
Keisha Gibbs, manager of the library’s Martin Luther King Branch and project manager for the African-American Digital Collection, said the library created its African-American Digital collection in February 2013 to offer a site where Columbus’ African-American history can be widely viewed and shared.
“The collection centralizes the information and makes it available and accessible to all, no matter where you may live,” said Gibbs. “The collection is a way to leave a legacy for future generations.”
Gibbs said the collection contains more than 11,500 historical images including photos, newspapers, event programs, portraits, pamphlets, directories and historical research that reflect the African-American community and the histories of its families, businesses, churches and schools in Columbus.
“We would love to see the collection used as an educational research tool,” said Gibbs. “It’s a good way for children to learn where they came from.”
Gibbs said the library is looking to increase its African-American Digital Collection. For information on how to contribute to the collection, contact firstname.lastname@example.org; call (614) 645-2275; or visit columbuslibrary.org.
Items may also be dropped off for scanning at the: Linden Branch, 2223 Cleveland Avenue, Columbus; Martin Luther King Branch, 1600 E. Long St., Columbus; Shepard Branch, 790 N. Nelson Road, Columbus; and the Main Library, 96 S. Grant Avenue, Columbus.
Items will be scanned and returned. The library can scan items up to 17 x 23 inches. If your collection is already scanned, email it to email@example.com or drop off a CD at one of the branches listed above or to the Main Library.
Gibbs said she is pleased by the willingness of people to share their historical photos and documents with the library.
“The library strives to serve a broad and diverse community,” said Gibbs. “The African-American Digital Collection is another way to do this.”
To view the collection online, visit columbuslibrary.org and click on African-American Digital Collection.