Library Works to Unveil Hidden Environmental Collections - Humboldt State Now

Library Works to Unveil Hidden Environmental Collections

Humboldt State University’s Library has been tapped to receive one of nine Hidden Collections Grants from the Council on Library and Information Resources. The grant is targeted at making archival material from California’s environmental history available to scholars throughout the world.

Images like this, from HSU’s Humboldt Room Collection, will be available thanks to a grant from the Council on Library and Information Resources to process the archives of the late Professor Rudi Becking.

The library will be processing the collection of HSU emeritus professor and former Arcata City Council member Dr. Rudolf Becking. The collection, contained in some 90 boxes, represents years of research from Becking’s work in establishing, among other things, the Arcata Community Forest and the Arcata Marsh and Wildlife Sanctuary. Joan Berman and Edie Butler will be coordinating the HSU effort over the next two years

Across the state, 33 collections documenting a range of issues—including irrigation, mining, forestry, agriculture, industry, land use, activism and research—will be processed. Until now these collections have been effectively hidden to researchers who have not known of their existence or contents.

The collaborative work will take place across several universities to uncover the bulk of material. Other institutions receiving the CLIR grant are California State University campuses at Chico and Fresno, UC Berkeley, UC Davis, UC Irvine, UCLA, UC Riverside and the University of Southern California.

While each institution will independently undertake the cataloging work, the California Digital Library will host tools, training and a virtual meeting space to promote the exchange of ideas and advance the archival profession’s approach to uncovering hidden collections.

The project is funded by a $446,817 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and administered by the Council for Library and Information Resources. Humboldt State has received $55,000 in funding for the next two years.