A great way to understand the history of an institution, group, library, or organization is to look through its day-to-day activities. Newsletters often serve this role, especially when the news shared comes from members and staff. If we look beyond the headlines we can see at its best the development of ideas, a cooperative effort to bring those ideas to fruition and the outcomes shared among individuals who have come together as a community.
The State Library of Kansas' KGI Online Library has added just such a "history" online with a collection of newsletters published by the South Central Kansas Library System from 1971 to 2001.
The South Central Kansas Library System
, as stated on their website, is: "is a regional system of cooperating libraries serving and governed by citizens and member libraries in south central Kansas." Its member libraries cover the gambit of library service... public, academic, school and special libraries from a 12 county region in Barber, Butler, Cowley, Harper, Harvey, Kingman, McPherson, Reno, Rice, Sedgwick, Stafford and Sumner counties.
The newsletters, spanning 30 years, give an historical look at libraries, library staff, supporting community members/volunteers who work together with the shared goal of providing excellent service to their communities through grants, consulting, continuing education and cost-effective support services. There are also many articles on the work of libraries in towns, cities and rural areas.
Beyond this these newsletters are a great view of technological development at the end of the 20th century. For example, while working on these newsletters I came across an article in 1992 explaining what a CD is. Whoah! Think how rapidly things changed from 1971 to 2001... Card catalogs to OPACs!
Dealing with budget cuts, adapting to societal changes, promoting events, planning and implementing policies and procedures to improve service... Skim through these newsletters and read things that jump out at you to get an idea of, not just the recent history of libraries, but (and I know I've used this word too much already bit it's true!) what it means to be a community.
SOUTH CENTRAL KANSAS LIBRARY SYSTEM NEWSLETTERS
(Many thanks to Rita Troxel here at the State Library for her efforts in scanning and displaying these newsletters, as well as creating the bookmarks for the article titles)