Expanding Access at ALA Midwinter

View Full Size Image

Last month, two Expanding Access to Biodiversity Literature (EABL) team members attended ALA Midwinter as exhibitors. The conference was held in downtown Atlanta, Georgia from January 20th until the 23rd, minutes away from where the Atlanta Falcons won entry into Super Bowl LI. Patrick Randall and Mariah Lewis were among other first-time exhibitors and spread the word about the IMLS National Leadership Grant Project. The weekend was full of fantastic conversations with librarians from a number of different institutions. Not only were new possible EABL contributors reached, it was also a great chance for those who were unfamiliar with BHL to check it out.

View Full Size Image

During the weekend, Mariah attended a discussion group for Digital Special Collections. The session focused on a number of projects being done by multiple different institutions, including projects on early American cookbooks, using Omeka for student exhibits at the University of Florida, interactive touch tables in archives, finding ways to get professors to interact more closely with collections of primary source material, and a project that didn’t intend on being digital.  The presentation led to a discussion of the tools used in digital projects and how to be knowledgeable about their operation while keeping up with the constant updates and changes.

On Tuesday, January 24th, Expanding Access hosted a training session at the Cherokee Garden Library, one of the institutions participating in Expanding Access.

View Full Size Image

The Cherokee Garden Library is located at the Atlanta History Center in Atlanta, Georgia. Founded in 1975 by Anne Coppedge Carr, the library was born out of the the Cherokee Garden Club. The collection now holds 32,000 objects—from books and manuscripts to landscape drawings and photographs. Covering topics from garden history to horticulture and plant ecology, the collection emphasizes the southeastern United States and provides a window into the journey of botany and horticulture throughout history.  In 2005, the Cherokee Garden merged with the Kenan Research Center, also at the Atlanta History Center.  The Expanding Access team is honored to help continue Carr’s philosophy of allowing use and access of the treasures within the collection.

BHL Program Director Martin Kalfatovic was gracious enough to give a thorough introduction to BHL that drew local wildlife also interested in BHL to the conference room window — though the inclusion of our avian friend on the project is still under review.  Under the supervision of the curious cardinal, the training session focused on content selection and curation and allowed staff at the library to get hands-on experience with BHL’s curation tool.

While the Atlanta History Center may seem like an unlikely place for biodiversity content to be held, EABL is very excited to include the wide variety of biodiversity-related materials held within this inspirational institution.  Stay tuned for more information on the wonderful contributions from the Cherokee Garden Library, Kenan Research Center at the Atlanta History Center!


“About the Cherokee Garden Library.” Atlanta History Center. Accessed February 10, 2017. http://www.atlantahistorycenter.com/assets/documents/about_the_cherokee_garden_library_founding_leadership-2.pdf.

Avatar for Mariah Lewis
Written by

Mariah Lewis is a Metadata Specialist at The New York Botanical Garden as part of the BHL Expanding Access project funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services.