Preservation Week Display by Park Forest Historical Society at Park Forest Public Library April 25

Park Forest Historical Society archive collection
Part of the archive collection of the Park Forest Historical Society. (SUPPLIED)

Park Forest, IL-(ENEWSPF)- The Park Historical Society and the Park Forest Public Library will present a display on Thursday April 25, 2013 from 10 a.m. into the afternoon to promote awareness of Preservation Week, April 21-27, 2013, sponsored by the American Library Association. The society will be distributing copies of, "Park Forest History Resources," showing some of the many Park Forest and local history materials available through the collections of the library and the society. The display will include books on preservation of historic materials, and lists of resources for libraries, museums, archives and for private individuals to preserve their own valuable family history items.

The Park Forest Historical Society believes educating the public about the Park Forest history materials will raise awareness of the need for continued preservation of these collections. Park Forest was the first fully-planned post-World War II suburb. Studied around the world, it was the subject of William H. Whyte’s landmark book, The Organization Man, and of Gregory Randall’s, America’s Original GI Town. Park Forest is included in the Smithsonian exhibit, "America on the Move."

Park Forest history materials will include samples of transcripts from, "OH! Park Forest Oral History of Park Forest." Transcripts are held at the Park Forest Public Library behind the desk of the Information Station, and are available to be checked out. The oral histories tell the story of Park Forest’s history up to 1980 through interviews with 77 of the earliest residents. The Library also houses the Park Forest Files, over 270 subject files on various aspects of Park Forest history, including Integration, various phases of the Shopping Center, Biography, and files divided by the decades, into the 2000 decade, at this point.

The Park Forest Public Library holds many books on Park Forest and regional history, on the Resource list. Several books are also held at the PFHS Archive Office at 227 Monee Road (in St. Mary’s Catholic Church), which is open Friday’s 10 to 12, or by appointment. The society holds a ca. 900 linear foot collection of archival documents, photographs and audiovisual materials on the history of Park Forest. PFHS received a Connecting to Collections Bookshelf–a set of books on preservation of historic materials, through an Institute of Museums and Library Services grant administered through the Association for State and Local History (AASLH), which the public is welcome to consult at the Archive Office. Some books from that collection will be on display.

The society will have a limited number of handouts of resources for preservation. Master copies of the lists will be left in the Park Forest Files and will be at the Archive Office.

The society also operates the 1950s Park Forest House Museum, 141 Forest Blvd, open 10:30 to 3:30 Wednesday and Saturday, or by appointment at other times. –more–

Admission donation is $5.00 for adults; children 12 and under are free with an adult. Special pricing applies to school, scout and group tours. The museum is an entertaining way to learn about Park Forest history and what our pioneers went through from 1948-1953, the first five years of the village. Home School groups are encouraged to see what the society has to offer for local history course work. This spring, society volunteer, Suzanne Brown, is coordinating use of the Park Forest History Curriculum Unit in Park Forest schools.

Information on the Park Forest Historical Society and on resources at the Park Forest Public Library is with Jane Nicoll, PFHS Archivist and Museum Director, at 708-481-4252. Information and a link to email can be found at www.parkforesthistory.org.

Origins of Preservation Week

In 2005 the first comprehensive national survey of the condition and preservation needs of the nation’s collections reported that U.S. institutions hold more than 4.8 billion items. Libraries alone hold 3 billion items (63 percent of the whole). A treasure trove of uncounted additional items is held by individuals, families, and communities. These collections include books, manuscripts, photographs, prints and drawings, and objects such as maps, textiles, paintings, sculptures, decorative arts, and furniture, to give just a sample. They include moving images and sound recordings that capture performing arts, oral history, and other records of our creativity and history. Digital collections are growing fast, and their formats quickly become obsolescent, if not obsolete.

The Importance of Preservation Awareness

Some 630 million items in collecting institutions require immediate attention and care. Eighty percent of these institutions have no paid staff assigned responsibility for collections care; 22 percent have no collections care personnel at all. Some 2.6 billion items are not protected by an emergency plan. As natural disasters of recent years have taught us, these resources are in jeopardy should a disaster strike. Personal, family, and community collections are equally at risk.

ALA encourages libraries and other institutions to use Preservation Week to connect our communities through events, activities, and resources that highlight what we can do, individually and together, to preserve our personal and shared collections.