A recent grant awarded to the Pickerington Public Library will allow for equipment purchases to substantially expand a digital catalog of local history.

In April, the library received a $4,804 Library Services and Technology Act grant from the State Library of Ohio.

It's the first time the Pickerington library has received an LSTA grant, and it will be used to enhance a digital archives project the library launched in 2016.

"We're excited to be in a position to work with two great organizations -- the Columbus Metropolitan Library and the Pickerington-Violet Township Historical Society -- to bring local history to life for the community we serve," said Kent Daniels, the Pickerington library's assistant library director.

The library's archives were created to preserve materials that document the history of the library, the city of Pickerington, Violet Township and Fairfield County, library officials said.

The Columbus Metropolitan Library and the Pickerington-Violet Township Historical Society have partnered with the project to make historical materials freely available online to researchers and the general public.

Some archives materials can be accessed through the library's website -- pickeringtonlibrary.org -- as well as the "My History" portal on the Columbus Metropolitan Library's website: columbuslibrary.org/myhistory.

However, the Pickerington library is in an initial scanning phase for its larger archival project.

The library is using the grant to purchase an archival-grade scanner and specialized computer with enough memory to complete the archival work.

"The equipment we obtained is the backbone of all the digital work we will be doing for our archival collections," said Colleen Bauman, the library's community relations coordinator.

"Currently, there are around 1,200 existing digital images available through the library's catalog," she said.

"Everything will be moved over to our My History site, in addition to materials yet to be digitized. The library has around 10 cubic feet of material to prepare, scan, or rescan.

"In addition, the Pickerington-Violet Township Historical Society has approximately 600 photos and 4,000 pages of documents to scan -- and that's just to start."

As the archives begin to take shape, library officials said they plan to include historical documents, old slides and other materials chronicling area events and moments in time.

"We want to expand our services in the area of local history and genealogy," Bauman said. "Making these materials available online will greatly enhance access to a rich and growing reservoir of historical resources relating to the culture and history of Pickerington, Violet Township and Fairfield County.

"It's happening now," Bauman said. "There are only a few dozen items currently on My History, but it will grow continuously throughout this year, and beyond."

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