Collections, Programs and Services
The New York Public Library is home to four research libraries, one of these libraries is the world-renowned Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. The primary source materials researchers are able to access at the Schomburg Center are exceptional, including the papers of James Baldwin and original African American historical newspapers. It is absolutely necessary that research libraries, such as the Schomburg Center, preserve and archive manuscripts and other items essential to ethnic historical primary research. However, there is a large part of the population of people of color who have difficulty accessing these archives for various reasons, including time and distance. This is where e-resources can fill a significant void in scholarship for people of color. The New York Public Library’s Collection Development department has curated a stellar selection of e-resources specifically for ethnic historical research, for example the databases, Freedman’s Bank Records, which includes original signatures and registers from the institutions where newly freed slaves could deposit their money. Other databases include Latin American Newspapers (1805-1922) and Chinese Pamphlets, which include early propaganda from the People’s Republic of China. The challenge is twofold--first making sure that the demographic most in need of these resources are aware that they exist, and second making sure that researchers have the tools to navigate the many search and research features within these databases in order to use them effectively. The poster charts a path to solve these issues, which other libraries can use to promote these types of resources to their patrons. The poster will show roadblocks, such as low-visibility in the discovery lair and insufficient use of these resources in the reference interview. The poster will also provide possible future solutions and solutions that are currently working, for example training sessions for the public and staff using themes, the use of social media, and strategic blogging that creatively shows how these electronic resources can be essential to research but also fun to use.