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Library at Waldorf College awarded state grant for archive project

Waldorf College in Forest City, Iowa
Waldorf College in Forest City, Iowa

FOREST CITY – The Luise V. Hanson Library at Waldorf College has been awarded a grant from Iowa’s Resource Enhancement and Protection (REAP) and Historical Resource Development Program. The funding will support the second year of a three-year project to improve the Library’s archives.

“Our entire team is excited about this as the financial support will allow us to move forward with our project,” said library director Elizabeth Kiscaden. The goal of the archives project is to make the collection more accessible for researchers and community members, while preserving more than a century of local history.

The archives contain materials collected since the founding of Waldorf College in 1903. Photographs, textiles, yearbooks, manuscripts, choir records, and more are stored in the space. “The grant should allow us to make these treasures available to alumni, researchers, and members of our community,” said Kiscaden.

Grant funding will be used to support consultation from an archive specialist and purchase archival quality supplies to appropriately store, organize, and digitize the rare materials. The college will match the state funding through dedicated personnel time and a financial commitment from the operational budget.

During the first year of the project, staff removed materials from metal filing cabinets, stored photographs in acid-free photo sleeves, and installed bookshelves and reading tables. The goals for year three include compiling a collection database and creating aids to assist in locating materials stored throughout the archives.

Library staff developed a plan to improve the archives after a visitor from Norway stopped in to do some family research. “This was exciting for us because we generally get requests from Americans researching their ties to Norway, not Norwegians investigating what happened to their family members that emigrated to America,” explained Kiscaden.

The visitor helped emphasize the importance of the archive to a greater region outside of the college community. Added Kiscaden, “Our archive has additional historical value in that it documents Norwegian settlers and their life and culture here during the early 1900s.”

Library staff are planning a grand re-opening of the archives at the conclusion of the project, which is anticipated for September 2015.

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