Northwest Room Associate visits the Other “Windy City”

By Ilona Perry

In late May I had the opportunity to attend a day of presentations, discussion, and networking at the Internet Archive, opens a new window headquarters in a very windy San Francisco. This was part of the Internet Archive’s Community Webs grant program. The program was launched 2017 as an Institute of Museum and Library Services, opens a new window and Internet Archive funded program of education, training, and services for public libraries and other cultural heritage organizations to build collections of historically valuable, web published materials documenting their local communities. In 2021 the Internet Archive opened Community Webs to applicants from cultural heritage organizations from Canada and across the globe. 

The Internet Archive was founded in 1996 with the mission to provide universal access to all knowledge to researchers, historians, scholars, people with print disabilities, and the general public. Anyone with a free account can upload media to the Archive. The headquarters at 300 Funston Ave are set in a former Fourth Church of Christ, Scientist building.   

We began the day by getting to know each other and learning about the Archive itself. The keynote speaker was Rick Prelinger, co-founder of the Prelinger Archives, opens a new window. After a fun tour of the building (see some of the image captions) representatives of three participating libraries presented their achievements during their participation in the program. Librarians from Alexandria library, opens a new window in Virginia, Abilene library, opens a new window in Texas and Forbes library, opens a new window in Massachusetts all had built impressive online collections in a relatively short amount of time. Listening to and learning from my fellow participants affirmed me of the importance of the Northwest Room’s work in archiving and documenting local history, communities, and people. I am honored to be a small part of this important work.