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Library award a salute to innovation PDF Print E-mail
Written by Mark Jaeger   
Wednesday, 09 November 2016 21:32

State archivist says digital conversion lab breaks new ground

As state archivist with the Wisconsin Historical Society, Matt Blessing has presented his share of Governor’s Archives Awards.Saukville

Award winners are selected by the Wisconsin Historical Records Advisory Board, a panel of nine gubernatorial appointees that works with the Historical Society.

Until last week, however, Blessing has never presented the award to a community program as small as Saukville’s Oscar Grady Library.

The library was recognized for its digital conversion lab, a facility that is open to the public to preserve family history recorded in audiotapes, home movies and old photographs by copying them onto easily shared digital files.

In addition to the award, Library Director Jen Gerber was presented a $500 gift certificate from Demco, a Madison-based supplier of library and archiving supplies.

The presentation was made at the library in conjunction with last week’s Village Board meeting.

Blessing said the award drew entries from around the state this year, but the Grady Library lab was an easy winner.

“There was a record number of applications and there were no slouches, but the judges saw this project as a standout,” he said.

Blessing said the digital conversion lab fits in perfectly with the Historical Society’s mission — to collect, preserve and share stories.

“Telling and sharing stories is fundamental in building strong families and strong communities,” he said. 

“Especially in a diverse society, sharing common stories is an essential ingredient in community building. Through the telling of stories, we temper those around us — including our children and our grandchildren — helping to foster a sense of place and a sense of community while passing along values that give us a rootedness.”

Blessing said the award the library received recognizes programs “that successfully experiment with new ways to demonstrate the significance or relevance of historical records for understanding of the past, or that use historical records to reach new audiences.”

He said the award recognizes Gerber and her staff “as professional leaders in the world of public libraries.”

Blessing said the village has reason to be proud of the innovation shown by its library staff.

“They’re not only assisting library patrons rescue cherished content on fragile, obsolete formats, but they’re also advising library colleagues across the state on how to replicate such labs in their counterpart libraries.”

Image Information: OSCAR GRADY LIBRARY Director Jen Gerber (left) accepted the 2016 Governor’s Archive Award for Archival Innovation from State Archivist Matt Blessing. The award presentation was made during last week’s Saukville Village Board meeting.    Photo by Mark Jaeger

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