February-October 2016. Queens Memory extended its outreach to new language communities through the Memories of Migration project, led by the Santa Ana (Calif.) Public Library. Queens Library, as one of four model sites for the program, hosted 40 community history events tailored to elderly immigrants from Hong Kong, Taiwan and mainland China. Fluent Mandarin and Cantonese speakers were on hand to conduct the events and catalog the resulting digitized materials. The larger program was supported by a National Leadership Grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Our first Memories of Migration event, an oral history workshop, was held on February 20, 2016 in conjunction with the Queens Museum’s New New Yorkers program. To enlist local partners including The Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA), Queens Memory conducted Memories of Migration events as part of a regional program series called Living Memory: The Culture and Heritage of Chinese New Yorkers. The kickoff event for this series was held March 14, 2016 at the Flushing Library. The evening featured Queens Memory Director Natalie Milbrodt conducting an interview with artist Zhang Hongtu, as well as a panel discussion on issues of identity in the process of becoming American. Panel participants included New York City Councilman Peter Koo, Jiayang Fan of The New Yorker, Prof. Peter Kwong of Hunter College and the CUNY Graduate Center, and food writer Kian Lam Kho.
Culture in Transit
June 2015 - May 2016 Culture in Transit was a partnership between the Metropolitan New York Library Council, the Brooklyn Public Library and Queens Library that brought mobile scanning equipment to smaller libraries, archives, museums, and the communities they serve. The project offered library patrons and cultural heritage institutions an opportunity to create digital copies of their materials using state-of-the-art equipment. Digitized materials were shared with the public through local digital archives and also through the Digital Public Library of America. Culture in Transit was one of twenty-two projects to win the Knight Foundation’s Knight News Challenge on Libraries in 2014. This project expanded the Queens Memory model of democratizing the archives by collecting and digitizing local history material at community events throughout New York City. Culture in Transit was funded with a $330,000 grant from the Knight Foundation. The Culture in Transit toolkit is now available for anyone interested in the methods and equipment used by Queens Memory.