The Iredell County Public Library Local History Department has received the North Carolina Preservation Consortium 2016 Award for Preservation Excellence. The award was presented at the North Carolina Preservation Consortium annual conference at the McKimmon Center on the campus of North Carolina State University in Raleigh. The award “recognizes your sustained and significant commitment to the preservation of tangible and intangible heritage of enduring value.”
Robert James, Executive Director of the NCPC, wrote in notification of the award that the Iredell County Public Library was selected in recognition of the library’s strong commitment to preserving the heritage of Iredell County through the preservation and digitization of the library’s photograph collection. The North Carolina Preservation Consortium at www.ncpreservation.org/ is dedicated to the preservation of collections in libraries, museums, and archives, through proper care, handling, storage, environmental control, conservation, and collection security.
The Iredell County Public Library has a collection of over 95,000 photographs and negatives. The photographs have been indexed and identified where possible and placed in labeled archival grade sleeves and envelopes. The collection is stored in metal cabinets in an area of the building that provides a constant temperature of between 68 and 72 degrees with a humidity of between 48 and 52 percent to ensure their survival. In addition, each photograph and negative has been digitized through scanning and the images saved electronically on computer hard drives.
Funding for the photograph project was provided by the Iredell Friends of the Library who donated over $12,000 over the last few years to purchase the archival grade supplies needed to preserve and store the collection. Former Statesville native and UNC-Chapel Hill professor and author William S. Powell and his wife Virginia donated $500 to purchase a quality scanner to digitize the negatives.
To provide access to the photograph images the library created an online account with the popular photograph website Flickr. In March of 2013, the Iredell County Public Library went live online with its newly created Flickr website at www.flickr.com/photos/icplphotos/collections. The site contains the photograph images from both the Stimson Studio and Max Tharpe collections as well as other images and documents from the library’s local history collection.
In 2015 the Iredell County Public Library Local History Department began a project of digitizing the library’s collection of Iredell County school yearbooks. The library has now digitized by scanning 244 Iredell County school yearbooks. Once the yearbooks are scanned they are returned to their owners and the images uploaded to the library’s Flickr site for public viewing. As of February 6, 2017 the Iredell County Public Library has 112,902 images uploaded on our Flickr page including the yearbook images. The site records a count each time an image is viewed. Since March, 2013 there have been 7,122,288 views of images on the site. If you have an older yearbook you would like to have scanned and added to the online collection contact Joel Reese at firstname.lastname@example.org or 704-878-3093.
Joel Reese, Local History Librarian
Iredell County Public Library
This article was published in the Statesville Record and Landmark in February 2017