Library of Congress Lends Help to DCPL

As a followup to yesterday?s blurb about the fire at the Georgetown branch of the DC Public Library ? although I didn?t know it at the time of posting, the Library of Congress is working to lend a hand. Here is a statement I received from staff in our Preservation Directorate:

Ginnie Cooper, Chief Librarian of the DC Public Library, contacted Deanna Marcum, Associate Librarian for Library Services, for assistance shortly after the fire began at the DCPL Georgetown branch library. The Georgetown branch contains a special collection devoted to Georgetown local history. From their Web site:

?The Peabody Room presently houses a special collection of current and retrospective materials that relate specifically to Georgetown, its history, culture and economy. The collection contains information about local houses with chain of title, assessment records and other pertinent information; and local residents in both text and non-text formats. There are plats, maps, vertical clippings files, local newspapers, photos and engravings that depict various aspects of Georgetown life and history. There is also a collection of published books and journal articles either about Georgetown or by Georgetown residents.

?As a regional reference collection with an extensive database of local history, the Peabody Room serves a wide variety of patrons. People come with questions about homes, genealogy, buildings, landmarks, historic people, local events, and social history.?

Library of Congress staff had also become aware of the fire through colleagues and news reports. The staff began to organize our response, including contacting DCPL with emergency response information and advice. We followed up on this by sending three staff members from our Preservation Directorate to the site yesterday afternoon.

At this time, DCPL has contacted a disaster recovery company and is preparing to stabilize the building today, and then salvage operations on collections will begin in the building tomorrow, if possible. The Library of Congress is working with preservation colleagues from across the region to assist DCPL in its emergency response effort.

Ms. Cooper also discussed the LOC response to the fire as part of a video at WashingtonPost.com, here. Her remarks are about 1:08 into the video.

UPDATE: I am told that salvage operations already began in earnest on May 1, so I have struck through the relevant text above to reflect that fact.

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