Preserving pictures and sharing local stories through community ‘scan-a-thons’

Preserving pictures and sharing local stories through community ‘scan-a-thons’

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – The Indianapolis Public Library is asking for help with a project called Digital Indy.

Its goal is to collect and archive local stories by hosting community ‘scan-a-thon’ events.

“This is about telling local history narratives in Indianapolis and making voices heard that previously haven’t been,” said Victoria Duncan, digital projects coordinator at the Indianapolis Public Library.

People can bring photos, event flyers, or anything that tells a story of what has or is happening in Indianapolis.

Those artifacts are then put into ‘collections’ on Digital Indy‘s web site.

According to Duncan, the library’s two mobile scanners initially came from a national grant to create the Black History, Indianapolis History collection.

That collection was in joint effort with the Center for Black Literature & Culture.

Their most popular scan-a-thon was held at Witherspoon Presbyterian Church where Duncan said more than 150 artifacts were scanned.

The grant recently ended, but the library’s Michigan Road branch saw these scan-a-thons as an opportunity to further connect with their community.

Bethany Allison, a public services librarian at the Michigan Road branch, is behind making scan-a-thons a monthly event.

She said people like the idea, but can be reluctant at first to bring in a box full of personal items.

“I think they realize that their memories aren’t doing anybody any good sitting in a closet. So, they realize that there is a way to share them, but kind of overwhelmed as to where to start. Being able to come in and see it, they realize OK, if I can pick out 10 things that are really important to me that I can share with the rest of the community, that’s a positive,” said Allison.

Library staff said scan-a-thons are community-led and can be set-up anywhere, including neighborhoods or places of worship.

“We want you to get creative. If you have an idea for a collection, contact your local branch to get started,” said Duncan.

The Wayne Branch will be hosting their first scan-a-thon on Nov. 9.

For more information on how to get involved, head here.