Magazine article American Libraries

Greetings from America's National Park Libraries: Filmmaker Ken Burns Called the National Parks "America's Best Idea." the Libraries in These Parks May Be One of America's Best-Kept Secrets

Magazine article American Libraries

Greetings from America's National Park Libraries: Filmmaker Ken Burns Called the National Parks "America's Best Idea." the Libraries in These Parks May Be One of America's Best-Kept Secrets

Article excerpt

"The National Park libraries." says Nancy Hori, supervisory librarian at the National Park Service (NPS) Pacific West Regional Library in Seattle, "are in some of the most beautiful and sacred areas of the United States. The remote locations, often in historical buildings without climate control, present many challenges for keeping materials safe and secure." As part of the NPS, they are government and public libraries, house special collections, and in many cases serve as museum libraries. The librarians, curators, and rangers who oversee the NPS libraries provide a way for visitors to connect with a place, an event, or local history that is unique. We've chosen a few across the country for you to consider on your next national park visit, each featuring something special; history, architecture, collections, or just a gorgeous location.

Statue of Liberty National Monument, New York and New Jersey

Bob Hope Memorial Library

Ellis island Immigration Museum

nps.gov/elis/historyculture/bob-hope-memorial-library.htm

The well-known entertainer for whom this library is named passed through Ellis Island as a child. Every day hundreds of visitors tour an exhibit that includes the honorary Oscar awarded to Bob Hope in 1960, part of the library and museum's permanent collection. Librarians here are skilled researchers and scholars. While no original immigration records are located in the library, the librarians often help visitors locate resources for information about family members who came to the US through this gateway. Unique materials in the collection include 2,000 oral histories and many early 20th-century films featuring Ellis Island.

Editor's Note: Hurricane Sandy flooded the basement of the building on Ellis Island and destroyed the utilities. Luckily, the third-floor library and materials are safely intact, reports librarian Barry Moreno. While it is uncertain when the library will open its doors, the Statue of Liberty should reopen later this year. Stay updated at twitter.com/EllisIslandNPS.

Crater Lake National Park, Oregon

Science and Learning Center Library

nps.gov/crla/slc.htm

Richard M. Brown Memorial Library, Steel Visitor Center

nps.gov/crla/slcfacilities.htm

One of the two libraries located in the park, the SLC library is housed in a carefully restored Rustic Style building. This architectural style emphasizes the use of natural building materials and is common in the national parks. The heart of the SLC collection consists of reprints of classic papers written in the park's early years and the most recent scientific papers pertaining to the park and its environment. In addition, reference books and reports serve the needs of visiting researchers, park staff, and Learning Center program participants. Librarian Jordan Yee noted that the collections and services mark the important role science plays in the national parks. This library is open only in the summer.

In contrast, the Richard M. Brown Memorial Library mainly serves park employees, but park visitors may find the oral history interviews interesting, or may wish to page through Nature Notes from Crater Lake, published irregularly from 1928 to 2002. Completed in 1934, this Rustic Style building was formerly the ranger dormitory. Steel Visitor Center is open every day except Christmas. …

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