In two major public service projects just completed, Evanston Public Library (EPL) has made it possible for history lovers to find information on World War I, Illinois history and North Shore African American history more readily. Through expert cataloguing services provided to the Evanston History Center (EHC) and Shorefront Legacy Center (SLC) by the Library and its head cataloguer, Julie Bevan, 587 history books are now more accessible to the public through the Evanston Public Library catalog.
Tim Longo, head of Technical Services for EPL, says it is quite uncommon for a public library to include information from community organizations in its catalog.
“It’s not always possible for that level of cooperation and for the cataloging time to be set aside to accomplish such a task,” he said.
Beginning in 2014, Ms. Bevan examined more than 870 books at the EHC, housed at the Dawes House. The collection is composed of books collected by Charles Gates Dawes, the 30th vice president of the United States, as well as books collected over the years by the EHC. During the project, which was started in 2012 by Karen Zuidema, the cataloguers searched for records in a national catalog and imported matching records to EPL’s catalog. Original cataloguing was also done by Ms. Zuidema and Ms. Bevan for titles with no matching records.
Lori Osborne, director of Archives and Outreach for the EHC said, “This project is so beneficial to EHC in that it helps us achieve an important part of our mission: letting people know what we have in our collection. This information is now available not only for those who search the EPL catalog, but for those searching online and through WorldCat. We are always seeking ways to make our collections more accessible. We so appreciate EPL helping us get closer to achieving that goal.”
In a second project, begun in March 2015, Ms. Bevan worked with Shorefront’s collection of black history and culture on Chicago’s North Shore. A list of titles from the collection was provided, records were imported, and call numbers added to 532 items. As a result, the book collection of Legacy Shorefront Center is now available for searching in the EPL catalog.
Dino Robinson, founder and executive director of Shorefront, said, “Shorefront has amassed a collection of over 500 subject specific books in line with our mission of collecting black history. We want to ensure that our holdings are known and searchable. SLC’s collection focuses on books on, about, and by the Global Black communities with sections on local, regional, national and global issues. In addition, we hold two special collections: local authors and a set of rare books from the Edwin B. Jourdain Jr. personal library.”
To access these collections, patrons can now search the Evanston Public Library catalog. The collections can then be examined and used in-house at EHC, 225 Greenwood St., and SLC, 2214 Ridge Ave.