Rare Book Preservation Project
The Syracuse Public Library is in possession of twenty-two historic books detailing the history of Syracuse and Kosciusko County. The library believes that these books, some of which are one of a kind (marked “unique” in the table below) and others which have no other copies in public institutions, need to be preserved so that future generations can discover and enjoy the history of our area as much as we do now. The volumes of historic books to be preserved are as follows, along with their approximate date:
|Name||Circa||# of Volumes or Copies||Unique|
|Historical Atlas of Kosciusko County||1879||1||–|
|Standard Atlas of Kosciusko County||1914||3 copies||–|
|Justice Dockets||Late 19th century – early 20th century||8 volumes||Yes|
|Funds Accounting||Early 20th century||1||Yes|
|Local Hotel Register||1910's||1||Yes|
|Pictorial History of the Civil War||Late 19th century||1||–|
|Circuit Court Docket||Late 19th Century||1||Yes|
|Biographical and Historical Record||Late 19th Century||1||–|
|Secretary's Book||Early 20th century||1||Yes|
|Township Account Book||Late 19th century – early 20th century||1||Yes|
|Docket of James||Early 20th century||1||Yes|
|General Record Book||Late 19th century||1||Yes|
These books are part of our community’s history, and several of them feature elaborate engravings of 19th century homesteads and the people who lived on them, paper ephemera like school schedules from the 1800′s and local contracts, local hotel registers with the names and home cities of visitors to Wawasee almost one hundred years ago, and of course much, much more.
Due to their extremely fragile state, these books have been unavailable for public use for a number of years. However, the unique historical content of these books make them an essential asset to local historians, genealogists, students and even the merely curious. The library wants these materials to be available for public study and perusal without threatening the viability of the books themselves. To this end, the library spent several months raising funds for a full-scale conservation effort for these volumes, and was recently awarded grants totaling $7,250 to put towards preservation efforts.
The Syracuse Library recently received generous grants from the following organizations in order to make this project possible:
|Ken and Lela Harkless Foundation||$2000|
|Kosciusko County Community Foundation||$2000|
|Bertsch Family Foundation||$1000|
|Hand Family Foundation||$250|
|Kosciusko REMC Operation Round-Up Fund a component fund of the Kosciusko County Community Foundation||$2000|
The preservation work is being performed by Etherington Conservation Services, a professional conservation service specializing in rare and antique books, located in North Manchester, Indiana.
When preservation efforts are complete, the books will be temporarily on display at the Syracuse-Wawasee Historical Museum, before being moved to their permanent home, the Syracuse Public Library, where they will be available upon request for study and perusal.
Syracuse Public Library and Syracuse-Wawasee Historical Museum Digitization Project
Digitization is the act of making digital copies of documents, photographs and other media which is then added to a searchable database made available online for the public to use. Digitizing items allows libraries, museum and historical societies to make digital back-up copies of their most fragile items (items which may not be available to the general public) and make these copies available online for viewing at any computer in the world.
The Syracuse Public Library and the Syracuse-Wawasee Historical Museum have joined together in a new initiative to digitize part of our respective historical collections and make these items available through our websites, and also on the Indiana Memory Project, sponsored by the Indiana State Library. Indiana Memory is a collaboration of Indiana libraries, museums, archives and related cultural organizations to enable access to Indiana’s unique cultural and historical heritage through a variety of digital formats and free distribution over the internet. Indiana Memory seeks to support and enhance education and scholarship for all Hoosiers for an increased understanding of Indiana’s past and its role in preparing for Indiana’s future.
The Syracuse Public Library and the Syracuse-Wawasee Historical Museum have received a grant in the amount of $9,000 to begin digitizing our historic collections and making these items available in an online database linked through our websites and through Indiana Memory Project. This project is supported by the Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act, administered by the Indiana State Library.
The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. Its mission is to grow and sustain a “Nation of Learners” because life-long learning is essential to a democratic society and individual success. Through its grant making, convenings, research and publications, the Institute empowers museums and libraries nationwide to provide leadership and services to enhance learning in families and communities, sustain cultural heritage, build 21st century skills, and increase civic participation. To learn more about the Institute, please visit http://www.imls.gov.
We expect our historical collection to be available for viewing online by the autumn of 2012. Keep up to date with library happenings by visiting this website, our Facebook page, or by reading the Mail-Journal. Members of the public who have historical photographs or documents in their possession that they would like to add to the collection are welcome to do so; you will receive your item back quickly after a digital copy is made, and ownership will be credited to you. If you have any questions, please call the library at 574-457-3022.