Out of an abundance of caution due to COVID-19, all Library of Congress buildings and facilities are closed to the public, and American Folklife Center staff are currently teleworking. In such uncertain times, we wanted to reassure our followers on social media, as well as those who use our collections and services in other ways, that we remain committed to serving the public as fully and as long as we can. Although most of us on the American Folklife Center staff have been staying away from our beloved Jefferson and Adams Buildings to avoid catching or spreading the novel coronavirus, the Library of Congress has been very agile and flexible in providing us the means to serve Congress and the public from home or other remote locations—so we are on the job!
All of us on the AFC staff take off our hats to people in other parts of the government whose work is directly related to science and public health, who are working long hours seeking solutions to the challenges posed by this new threat. At the same time, we wanted to remind you that we too are working for you, striving to increase access to collections and information.
Alongside the Library of Congress statement on the pandemic, everyone should be aware of CDC guidelines for coronavirus disease prevention: in addition to washing your hands and not touching your face, these include keeping your distance from other people by avoiding crowds and gatherings, avoiding contact with surfaces that may have been contaminated, and above all, staying home if you’re sick. Many states and localities are enacting stay-at-home policies, closing non-essential businesses, and generally encouraging people to stay home. All of these steps suggest that, like us, you may be spending more time at home in the near future. We want to share our collections and services with you while you’re there.
While you are in your homes during times of reduced travel and social distancing, you can still contact us. The reference staff continues to answer reference questions about folklore, ethnomusicology, and ethnography. Since most of us aren’t at our desks, please contact Ask a Librarian at this link, or email questions to [email protected].
The AFC social media team continues to post blogs, Facebook posts, and email announcements about fascinating folklife topics, and to work on podcasts and videos for release in the near future. We also still have staff members working on collection guides, finding aids, Story Maps, and other ways of connecting you to the collections.
Most importantly, there are already hundreds of hours worth of folklife listening, watching, reading, and viewing online, including thousands of sound recordings, hundreds of videos, and tens of thousands of photographs and manuscript pages documenting traditional music and culture from across the nation and around the world. Below, you’ll find just a few of the ways you can discover and enjoy this online content while you’re staying safe at home.
Thank you for following the American Folklife Center. Stay safe!
Keep on Top of Developments at AFC
- Subscribe to our blog at this link.
- Subscribe to our News and Events email updates at this link.
- “Like” our Facebook page and receive daily inspiration in your feed.
Explore Folklife Collections at the Library of Congress Website
- For a linked list of all of AFC’s online collections and presentations, visit this link.
- Watch webcasts of AFC’s concerts and lectures, available at this link.
- Read our blog “Folklife Today,” which tells stories about our collections, at this link.
- Listen to our podcast “Folklife Today,” with more compelling stories, at this link.
- Find our Story Maps and explore collections geographically, at this link.
- Find our collection guides on interesting topics at this link.
- Find our finding aids to individual collections at this link.
- For all AFC collection items online at the Library’s website, visit this link.
Find AFC Collections at Other Websites
- The Association for Cultural Equity: Alan Lomax’s fieldwork from 1943 until his retirement.
- John and Alan Lomax’s Louisiana recordings from 1934.
- John and Alan Lomax’s Kentucky recordings of the 1930s and 1940s.
- Alan Lomax and Fisk University’s 1941-1942 recordings at Delta State University.
- Wisconsin Folksong Collection (Recordings made in the 1930s and 1940s by Sidney Robertson Cowell, Helene Stratman Thomas, and others)
- Minnesota Folksong Collection (Recordings made in the 1920s by Robert Winslow Gordon).
- The James Madison Carpenter Collection (Manuscripts, photos, and cylinder recordings made in the 1920s and 1930s by James Madison Carpenter in both the U.S. and the U.K.).
- The Helen Hartness Flanders Ballad Collection (Recordings made in the 1930s and 1940s by Flanders and Marguerite Olney in New England, especially Vermont). Note: this collection contains notebooks, cylinder recordings, and printed materials not shared with AFC, but AFC has copies of most of the disc sound recordings listed as “Archival Cassette Dubs” at this link.
- MacEdward Leach and the Songs of Atlantic Canada (Recordings made in Newfoundland and Nova Scotia by Leach from 1949 to 1951).
Recent Additions to AFC’s Online Materials
- We recently announced new online collections in our Occupational Folklife Project.
- We recently completed StoryMaps through which you can explore our online field collections as well as our Civil Rights History Project.
- We added the final set of new interviews to the Civil Rights History Project Collection.
- We placed the Colorado Folklife Project Collection online.
- We completed a finding aid to the Nancy Sweezy Collection, featuring documentation of Southern pottery, Southeast Asian cultures, and Armenian folk crafts.