Augusta-Richmond County Public Library and Coastal Heritage Society receive Competitive Digitization grants from the DLG

  • The Augusta-Richmond County Public Library and Coastal Heritage Society are recipients of the third set of grants awarded in a program intended to broaden partner participation in the Digital Library of Georgia (DLG). The DLG solicited proposals for historic digitization projects in a statewide call, and applicants submitted proposals for projects with a cost of up to $5,000. The projects will be administered by DLG staff who will perform digitization and descriptive services on textual (not including newspapers), graphic, and audio-visual materials.Preference in the selection process was given to proposals from institutions that had not yet collaborated with the DLG. The Coastal Heritage Society is a new partner for the DLG.

    The recipients and their projects include:

  • Augusta-Richmond County Public Library (Augusta, Ga.)

Digitization and delivery of the Augusta Chinese-American Oral History Project, which includes twenty-six oral history interviews of individuals who either immigrated to Augusta from China, and/or grew up in Augusta during the early to the middle twentieth century. The interviews were gathered in 2011 and 2012 by members of the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association of Augusta (CCBA). Anyone interested in studying immigration, minority cultures, economic history, race relations, or the establishment of Chinese-American organizations in the South will find the interviews informative.

  • Coastal Heritage Society (Savannah, Ga.)

Digitization and delivery of a Civil War period ledger spanning the years 1860 to 1864 that documents work conducted at the Carpentry Shop, within the Savannah Shops complex of the Central Rail Road and Banking Company of Georgia. Sections of the ledger record the tasks of specific workers, including employees, laborers, and African American workers. The Carpentry Shop ledger is a snapshot in time at one of the busiest industrial railroad complexes in the South just prior to and during the American Civil War.

Sheila McAlister, director of the Digital Library of Georgia notes: “Thanks to our review partners from Georgia Humanities, Georgia Public Library Service, Georgia Arts Council, Georgia Historic Records Advisory Council, and DLG partner volunteers, we’ve selected another strong slate of digital projects that reflect the diversity of Georgia. The collections document the Chinese-American community in Augusta and Georgia’s railroads during the Civil War and will be of interest to a wide audience.”

About the Augusta-Richmond County Public Library System

The Augusta-Richmond County Public Library System (ARCPLS) is a public library system serving more than 250,000 county residents. As a member of Public Information Network for Electronic Services (PINES), a program of the Georgia Public Library Service covering 53 library systems in 143 Georgia counties, ARCPLS supports any resident in the PINES network and provides access to over 10 million books. ARCPLS has a collection size of over 316,000 with a circulation of more than 478,000 annually. ARCPLS facilitates programs and classes to educate and entertain all ages at no cost. In addition to being a vital meeting place where the community can gather, explore new worlds, and share ideas and values, ARCPLS is a community hub and a critical anchor for our residents and neighbors. With a committed and diverse staff, ARCPLS continues to bring innovative and adaptive information and technology to its patrons.

About the Coastal Heritage Society (Savannah, Ga.)

The mission of Coastal Heritage Society is to provide educational experiences for the public through the preservation and presentation of the historic resources of coastal Georgia and adjacent regions. Coastal Heritage Society is a 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation founded in 1975 which operates five historic museums for visitors to explore. These include the Georgia State Railroad Museum, the Savannah Children’s Museum, the Savannah History Museum, Old Fort Jackson, and the Pin Point Heritage Museum.

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Foxfire Oral Histories, 2014

We are happy to announce a new partnership with the Foxfire Museum & Heritage Center, and to present a new collection of oral history interviews about Appalachian folk traditions and music,  Foxfire Oral Histories, 2014. The oral history interviews in this collection were conducted for Foxfire’s fiftieth anniversary book, which will be made available in 2016.

The Foxfire Fund grew out of a 1966 freshman English class project at the Rabun Gap-Nacoochee School to create Foxfire magazine, based on student interviews of community elders that documented the rich folk culture of Rabun County, Georgia. By 1972, the magazine was anthologized in books published by Doubleday. The Foxfire program was ultimately moved to Rabun County High School in 1977. Kaye Collins, a former Foxfire student, staff member, and now board member of the Foxfire Community Board and Foxfire Board of Directors informs us that “the students handle all aspects of the Foxfire magazine production. The best of those interviews are put in the Foxfire books.” Barry Stiles, curator of the Foxfire Museum, notes that “Foxfire students have been conducting interviews for almost fifty years now. It will be fifty years in 2016.”

Beyond its importance chronicling Southern Appalachia, the Foxfire Fund, Inc. has been instrumental in exposing the student-empowered, community-focused Foxfire Approach to Teaching and Learning to educators that investigates relationships between teachers, learners, and their curriculum. The Foxfire Approach has provided an integrative learning environment for students to study required material, to use their surrounding community as a resource to facilitate learning, and to connect their efforts to an audience beyond the classroom.

Collins’ favorite interviews in the Foxfire Oral Histories, 2014 collection are “all of them!” though she does specifically mention the interview with Beanie Ramey, a native of Tiger, Georgia, who recalls local history in Clayton County. Collins also admires Blairsville soapmakers T. J. and Jenny Stevens , who “are inspiring in their work ethic and lives,” states that master cornshuck doll maker Beth Kelley Zorbanos is “also a great philosopher,” and comments that folk artist Eric Legge “is an artist genius and has a great sense of humor!” Stiles, who has “a great fondness for the guitar” loves the interviews with bluegrass musician Curtis Blackwell (where Blackwell talks about learning to play guitar and playing with the Dixie Bluegrass Boys) and guitar maker Danny White (who discusses the wood and other material he uses to make different parts of the guitars, the merits of custom-built guitars over mass-produced ones and the difficulties in building mandolins).

We hope that you are able to take the time to enjoy these oral history interviews and experience the unique methods Foxfire has developed to preserve Southern Appalachian folk traditions, and to engage students with active learning opportunities outside of traditional teaching spaces.

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