Booth Library is happy to announce that it has been awarded a grant from the Illinois State Library to digitize oral interviews that are key to local history. More than 100 cassettes containing audio interviews have been stored in EIU’s University Archives and Special Collections (located in Booth Library) for many years. This grant funding will allow library staff members to transfer these interviews from cassette tapes to digital files, making them accessible to the general public.
Local historians will be excited by the results of this project. The oral interviews were recorded in the late 1970s through the mid-1990s and cover topics such as the Civilian Conservation Corps, Lincoln Log Cabin, Farming in Coles County in the 1920s, Girl Scouts of Coles County during World War II, Railroading in Coles County, the 1917 tornado and many, many more.
Campus topics include the Greenwood School, Coaches at EIU, Life at EIU as a Student (from various time periods), Eastern Illinois State Normal School, Past EIU Presidents, EIU Athletics, Unionization of EIU Faculty, and many other stories from former EIU students, faculty members and administrators.
University Archives and Special Collections staff members have done a great job at preserving these cassettes, but we all know that degradation will naturally occur over time. It is critical that these recordings be digitized for the purpose of accessibility as well as preservation. Bill Schultz, cataloging librarian and interim head of University Archives/Special Collections, will oversee this digitization process over the next year.
Once completed, the content created through this project will be accessible freely to all via the Illinois Digital Archives and the Digital Public Library of America.