Youngsville Public Library and American Legion preserving the local history

The Youngsville Library (YPL) is spearheading a multi-faceted project to properly preserve and digitalize local, historically relevant memorabilia from their “Charles Engstrom Collection.” The “Charles Engstrom Collection” was donated to YPL by the Engstrom family and consists of local and county history that ranges from journals and maps to newspapers, photographs, slides, and more.

The goals of this memorabilia project are to preserve YPL’s existing historical collection, to conserve the memorabilia with proper storage containers and shelving, to digitalize the materials so that they can ultimately be accessed for research electronically, and to ultimately inspire other members of the community to scan and add their archival memorabilia to the collection.

“This is the only historical collection of its size that is available for viewing by the public,” stated library director, Kristy Wallace. “It is incredibly important that this collection and other local historical items at our library be properly preserved and digitalized. We have been in the process of soliciting sponsorship for each phase of this endeavor because the costs to complete this project are completely independent of our regular operating overhead and budget. A project of this magnitude will be both costly and laborious to complete, but the end result will be a priceless collection of historical relevance that is accessible to everyone. “

Phase I of this project includes the purchase and installation of the necessary computer hardware required and Phase II will encompass the software, shelving, scanning equipment, and archival preservation materials, among other items. Phase I costs have been sponsored by Aggie Polley, to honor the memory of her husband John Polley. John Polley was an ardent supporter and patron of the Youngsville Library and also very interested in local history. “We are truly grateful to Aggie for her generosity and desire to be a part of this project while also honoring John’s memory,” stated Wallace.

Phase II is the bulk of this project and has been sponsored by the Youngsville American Legion. “Without the Legion’s sponsorship for the entire cost of Phase II we would be at a standstill,” stated Wallace. “The members of the Youngsville Legion truly understand how important it is to not just preserve our history but to provide access to it too. Too often the Legion’s generosity to our community isn’t realized because they do so much behind the scenes, but we [at YPL] want to make sure that our community knows that without the Legion’s help this wouldn’t have been possible.”