As a librarian working in reference services, I am always looking for resources that can capture the interest of everyone who use my library and its website. After all, what better way to build grassroots support for the availability and preservation of government information?
The Library of Congress is exploring The Quest for Black Citizenship in the Americas as its theme this year in its galleries and presentations. The website includes webcasts, photographs, and learning tools on African American history and the Civil Rights movement. One featured item is the National Park Service’s Tuskegee Airmen exhibit, which may be of particular interest to those who watched the inauguration of Barack Obama.
Another resource to highlight is the Black History Month section of America.gov. This website includes articles and photo galleries on contemporary topics and defining moments in American history. There’s an RSS feed for articles so you can stay updated throughout the month.
Through Federal Resources for Educational Excellence (FREE is a great discovery tool for digital collections) I was reminded of the Frederick Douglass Papers at the Library of Congress. This enormous collection, part of the American Memory project, includes a diary Douglass kept on a tour to Europe and Africa, and correspondence with prominent abolitionists and political figures.
One other fascinating resource for Black History Month is, unsurprisingly, the Federal Bureau of Investigation FOIA Reading Room. While only about one percent of the entire FBI file for Martin Luther King, Jr. is available for viewing here, the file includes some information on surveillance practices and informants. Other files available in the reading room are on Paul Robeson and his wife Eslanda, and Jackie Robinson.
I’ll be back throughout the month with more on topics and tools to build interest in government information resources.