Monday, October 20, 2014

LCP in Demand in Cyberspace

Partnerships with a range of online publications are giving the Library Company’s collections and curatorial insights new visibility. The Print Department’s charming and informative blog posts began to reach an audience of a whole new magnitude this summer, when Curator of Prints and Photographs Sarah Weatherwax was invited to blog for the Huffington Post about the rich photography collections at the Library Company. Her two posts to dateabout vacationing at the New Jersey Shore and Bob, the beloved dog of Philadelphia photographer William Rauhave received hundreds of “likes,” shares, and retweets. has a huge worldwide following for its wide-ranging coverage of politics, business, entertainment, technology, and the arts, receiving a record high 84 million unique visitors in October 2013. This invitation is a wonderful opportunity to introduce a new audience to the depth of the Library Company’s photographic holdings, and to extend our online audience.  Look for subsequent posts by Sarah monthly.

Closer to home, the Print Department’s collections are also being given a broader audience though a recent collaboration with the Philadelphia Daily News. The partnership began with a visit by Editorial Page Editor Sandra Shea last spring to view photographs depicting impoverished neighborhoods and street scenes in Philadelphia to accompany a series on poverty. 

Shea selected several images to accompany the article entitled “In Ruins: How Philadelphia became the poorest big city in America.” “I was so delighted with how the images in the Library Company were able to enhance our reporting, by providing historical context on the issues facing the city today,” she said. “By helping us reach into the past, the Library Company’s archives added rich texture and dimension to our stories, and we look forward to regular and ongoing collaborations.”

Most recently, Shea contacted the Print Department to find images for a forthcoming article on graffiti in Philadelphia.  Despite the ubiquity of graffiti in today’s streetscapes, before the invention of spray paint graffiti was more subtle as exhibited in the photograph above.  A scorecard handwritten on the brick façade of a house seems to keep tally for someone possibly named “the Bum.”

The Philadelphia Daily News also publicized the digitization of our African Americana collection, completed with funds provided by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services as administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Education under the Library Services and Technology Act.  Their multi-page article on the collection showcased several images and highlighted the research value of our holdings. 
Finally, when Rebecca Onion of discovered the Guide to the Stranger, or Pocket Companion for the Fancy, on the Library Company’s “Capitalism by Gaslight” exhibition online, she was very taken with this mid-nineteenth century Tripadvisor for brothels. Philadelphia Magazine online made hay from this essay and provided an updated look at the sites reviewed in the Guide. 

Be sure not to miss the next appearance of Library Company materials in cyberspace by following us on Facebook and Twitter!

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