Question: Who in Libraries made the decision to purchase matchbooks, pillow covers, and silver serving trays? What money was used to make these purchases? How does any of this fit with the strategic plan of the Library Department?
Answer by Pat Cook, Central Librarian, M.E.O. Central Library:Who in Libraries made the decision to purchase matchbooks, pillow covers, and silver serving trays?
Pat Cook purchased most of these items, though some were donations from customers. The local history collection needs to connect with all of our citizens whether they are natives of Princess Anne County/Virginia Beach or have moved here. This includes those whose first encounter with the area was due to military service. Most of these items were purchased using the Central Library City Credit Card, when that happens Pat gets the bill, it was approved by David, was then approved by Marcy, who then got approval from Cindy Curtis and then everything went to finance who then approved the expense.
The matchbook covers (they no longer have the matches in them J) were purchased to enhance the collection of materials about local businesses, either current or defunct, in the Virginia Beach and Tidewater area. In many cases these covers may be the only record remaining concerning a business that was well known at the time of its existence. Customers looking through the notebook that has copies of the covers have been excited when they recognized a restaurant, motel, gas station or business they had forgotten. These covers help our customers “ take a walk down memory lane” and have resulted in donations of additional local history materials.
The pillow covers were purchased as display items to help promote the local history collection. These were sold as gifts to servicemen to send to their family and friends and often say “To my Sweetheart” “To my Wife” “To my mother and father”, they list the branch of or location of service - Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, or one of the local military bases. When they were in the display cases in the local history area, we had many comments about the fact that family members still had these from servicemen from WWI and WW2. In fact we had someone come in yesterday to see the display (which is no longer there) and said they had one of these cases.
The silver plated serving tray, was purchased along with other local military base memorabilia for displays to promote the local history collection which includes military materials. This tray was given to the retiring commander of Camp Bradford (Camp Bradford was part of what is now Little Creek Fort Story Joint Expeditionary Base). The inscription is Captain and Mrs. J W Whitfield, USN, From officers of Camp Bradford, September 1944. The Information Services staff researched this officer for information to be included in the display to recognize May as National Military Appreciation Month:
James Walter Whitfield was born 25 Jan 1895 and died 31 July 1965. He was appointed to the U.S. Naval Academy (Class of 1918) from Delaware, serving from June 1914 to January 1947. He retired with the rank of Rear Admiral. In addition to Camp Bradford, he served on various ships including the Albany, Ohio, Colorado, Chester, Mugford and Calvert. He had several awards including the Legion of Merit with gold star, the Navy Commendation Ribbon and Army Commendation Ribbon as well as several campaign medals. In retirement he was a sales representative for various electronics companies. There is no record of a marriage or children. In his spare time he raised Siberian huskies, winning several prizes in dog shows
What money was used to make these purchases? Some but not all other paper ephemera including the matchbooks, also photographs, records and tapes of music from Virginia Beach residents or about Virginia Beach came from Materials Management funds last year when there was a budget for the LHGN and Archive if not from MM budget they were from the CL budget. Memorabilia such as the pillow covers and the Camp Bradford tray, purchased as display materials were typically purchased using the CL budget as are most programming and display materials. The Friends of Virginia Beach Public Library have provided funding for digitization of books and microfilm and any additional money needed for digitization comes from the CL budget. I do want to note that MM bought a FANTASTIC scanner that is used by the digitizing crew in LHGN!!
How does any of this fit with the strategic plan of the Library Department? As a City Department VBPL needs to be in alignment with City goals and initiatives. We support the City’s strategic initiatives including the following from the Cultural and Recreational Opportunity Strategic Initiative Team:
CRO 1.02: We engage the community in developing and promoting Cultural and Recreational Opportunities through mutually beneficial relationships.
Within this strategy is the initiative:
INI-04696: Invite citizens to contribute to the Princess Anne County/Virginia Beach Archives to ensure collection growth.
Within this initiative is the activity:
ACT-04713: Ensure there are unique and appropriate items in this collection that when used in presentations will pique citizens' interest and encourage them to explore the collection further.
The citizens of Virginia Beach have become more and more involved with this collection and are starting to take an active part in enhancing it! We have gone from a tiny group of materials to the need to expand our facilities AGAIN! This is a wonderful way to use the past to provide for future generations! I hope this has answered your questions, if not I would be happy to discuss the LHGN collection and LHGN Archives with anyone who interested and would love to come and talk at any staff meeting!