It’s just a day in the life for the reference librarians at TADL, who tend the historical archives and field inquiries about the distant and not-so-distant past of the Traverse City region. Take the sweet husband who called wanting to make a gift of an old photo from the Traverse City Record Eagle of his wife as a young Cherry Fest princess. Or the folks who’ve long moved away and reach out looking to find out the fate of an old neighbor, childhood home or beloved school teacher.
To keep the archives usable and robust, volunteers and library staff are working furiously to acquire, preserve, digitize and tag (identify people, places, buildings) countless documents and photos of area history and life—and time is not on their side.
To that end, the library is seeking donations to their vast collection—anything from old postcards, historical area photos or yearbooks make the cut—and TADL needs volunteers who can lend time to electronically review old photos and tag them for greater searchability. As part of their efforts, TADL recently digitized the records of the Immaculate Conception Church in Peshawbestown, which contains precious genealogical information regarding births, deaths, weddings and baptisms.
“Taking care of local history has a monumental impact,” says Heather Harris-Brady, marketing and communications manager for TADL. “If we don’t save these things, they are lost from our collective knowledge forever.”
History lovers can volunteer their time, knowledge or financial support on the Traverse Area District Library website to help in this preservation effort.
This Article Was First Featured in Northern Michigan GIVE 2021
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