Founded in 1921 with a gift by John T. Loomis, who was a historian and dedicated collector of Adirondackana, the Archives has expanded to include much material from the Adirondack Bibliography, authored by Dorothy Plum of Keene. In addition, since 1987, the Archives has housed the records of the Adirondack Mountain Reserve. Containing a large collection of photographs and local historical and genealogical materials, the Archives is open each Tuesday and Thursday morning for research and study.
Elizabeth Rogers, archivist Margaret Hawthorn, archivist assistant
Archive project: We have begun work on an Archive Project. To better understand the archive collection and to better develop it as a resource we have begun cataloging the books in the archives and barcoding them. Elizabeth Rogers comes from CEF once a month to work on the cataloging. This is so important because we cannot allow the books to leave the room, so we can not send them to CEF to be cataloged; many of them are unique or very rare and records need to be created for the books. It is not a simple cataloging task. The work is intense, and repetitive.
The books are recorded in the library system’s database as non-circulating. They are coded as kearc. Patrons will be able to see what is available for research, but will know they cannot borrow the book itself.
Even though it is done on the computer, it is the epitome of old fashion library work. Elizabeth sits in the archives, pouring over every book, one at a time, making subject heading decisions and entering data. I take the books and work at the circ desk entering them into the database and connecting them to the records she has created. We work for 2 or more hours at a time in silence, have a cup of tea, or lunch, chat for a moment and go back. After about 6 hours, the numbers blur and we call it a day. It is a big project and not possible without the help of CEF. But the goal is reachable and important. We will be able to understand what books we have, the number, the subjects and scope and depth of topic. Even now, I am amazed at the richness of the collection, treasures that were hidden are being touched and looked at.
Our archives have taken a prominent Role in Library Life with the evolution of the Town of Keene Historical Society and the My Adirondack Story Project. Students as young as first graders are using the Archives to research local history; People are using photos for the story material. Therefore, we have increased archive hours significantly, both to accommodate the increased use and to catch up on work that was in progress when Nina Allen passed away. The Archives are now open 14 hours each week. Margaret Hawthorne and Elizabeth Rodgers make an incredible team and are both efficient and productive.
The Keene Valley Library has also been awarded a grant from the Documentary Heritage and Preservation Services of New York to evaluate the archive material preservation techniques and accessibility.