June 1, 2022
Deborah Hakes, Georgia Public Library Service, firstname.lastname@example.org
ATLANTA–Three new public library digital exhibits offer a free way for public library patrons to interact with and learn about Georgia’s history and culture. “Columbus, Georgia: Hear Us Talking,” from Chattahoochee Valley Libraries; “Hyman Wallace Witcover: Designer of Savannah’s Architectural Jewels,” from Live Oak Public Libraries; and “Rituals of Wartime Labor in Brunswick, Georgia” from Marshes of Glynn Libraries each tell a story of a little-known aspect of community history particular to a geographic area, using digitized materials made available through the Digital Library of Georgia.
While digitization provides free and open access to materials that might otherwise be challenging to find or fragile to handle, digital exhibits give library users the tools they need to make sense of these materials in context.
“Columbus, Georgia: Hear Us Talking” uses an innovative approach to guide viewers through Columbus’ complex local history, focusing on archival silences as a means for telling the stories of traditionally marginalized peoples. The exhibit challenges audiences to question what other stories in our local history have gone untold.
In “Hyman Wallace Witcover: Designer of Savannah’s Architectural Jewels,” viewers explore creative versatility of Hyman Wallace Witcover, one of Savannah’s most prolific and versatile architects, who designed significant and historic buildings with distinctive architectural character, including the stunning Bull Street Library, formerly known as the Savannah Public Library.
“Rituals of Wartime Labor in Brunswick, Georgia” shares the experiences of the men and women who worked at J.A. Jones Construction Company at the Brunswick Shipyard building Liberty Ships during World War Two. Utilizing the lens of ritual and ritualization, the exhibit documents the cultural symbols and meaning-making that helped make sense of the extraordinary circumstances under which these people worked and lived.
The sites were created as part of Georgia Public Library Service’s DigEx Program, designed to build public library capacity for creating local history exhibits. GPLS provided funding and technical support for the Omeka S platform, an open source content management system used by libraries, archives, and schools to organize, curate, and display digital content online. An Advisory Council composed of exhibit curators from institutions around Georgia provided iterative content guidance and feedback. Staff at each of the three participating libraries researched, wrote, and designed the digital exhibits.
“These exhibits are community-focused showcases, opportunities to discover hidden treasures,” said DigEx Advisory Council member Danilo Baylen. “They provide space for anyone to access stories from the past that make the present meaningful and the future possible.”
Georgia Public Library Service (GPLS) empowers libraries to improve the lives of all Georgians by encouraging reading, literacy, and education through the continuing support and improvement of public libraries. GPLS is a unit of the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia. This project is supported with federal Library Services and Technology Act funds administered by the Institute of Museum and Library Services through GPLS. www.georgialibraries.org
The Chattahoochee Valley Libraries is a seven-branch system that serves more than 250,000 people in four counties, Muscogee, Chattahoochee, Marion and Stewart. The Library system is the most widely used cultural institution in the region, with more than 120,000 residents holding library cards. CVL’s mission is to be your place, your partner, your library. www.cvlga.org
Live Oak Public Libraries is a system of 16 library locations serving a 3-county region in southeast Georgia. LOPL’s mission is to provide excellent, responsive service to enrich people’s lives, support lifelong learning and build and enhance our communities. Each year, the Library typically hosts more than 1.1 million visitors, checks out over 1.1 million items, answers in excess of 485,000 questions, registers more than 555,000 computer sessions, and presents programs to nearly 125,000 patrons in Chatham, Effingham, and Liberty Counties. www.liveoakpl.org
The Marshes of Glynn Libraries is a public library system dedicated to enhancing and enriching the lives of all Glynn County residents and visitors to the Golden Isles. Anchored by two libraries, the Brunswick Library and the St. Simons Island Library, the system provides responsive, dynamic library services to meet the informational, educational, cultural, and recreational needs of the public. www.moglibraries.org