Thursday, June 26, 2014

DC Public Library Establishing Punk Archive

The nation's capital has a long and rich musical history. From punk to funk, from hardcore to house, and from blues to go-go and more, the District of Columbia has seen a plethora of music scenes thrive within its borders over many decades. One of these music scenes is now getting its own archive within the DC Public Library.
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The DC Public Library announced last week that it is documenting the history of the area punk scene in a new archive: the DC Punk Archive. As part of the public library's Special Collections/Washingtoniana unit, the DC Punk Archive is going to feature "multiple formats including photographs, published materials (books, zines, articles), recordings (vinyl records, tapes, CDs, videos, live recordings, oral histories, film footage), and ephemera (fliers, posters, set lists)." According to the announcement, "Subject content will not be limited to the music itself but could include anything pertinent to the cultural context, i.e. houses, venues, festivals, record shops, radio stations, tours."

The library has issued a call for donations, requesting that if anyone has any of the aforementioned materials, please consider donating them to the library to be included in its archival collections. In addition, the DC Public Library is seeking community support in the form of volunteers. "We invite interested individuals to volunteer to train as community archivist to help with the processing and digitization of donated materials," said the public library. "Digitization of these collections will allow greater access while minimizing handling of original materials. As collections are digitized, we have grant funding to create an interactive online music portal to allow the public to engage with not only digitized music, but associated archival content such as video, images and other documents." The expected roll-out for this digital aspect of the project is spring/summer 2015, according to the DC Public Library.

If you would like to get involved in this effort by donating to the collection, contact one of these library staff members: Michele Casto, special collections librarian, Washingtoniana, MLK Library, at, or Bobbie Dougherty, librarian, Mt. Pleasant Library, at If you simply want more information about the DC Punk Archive, you can contact these same library staff members as well.

If you wish to volunteer to help process and digitize incoming materials to the DC Punk Archive collection, go to THIS LINK. Please note that archival experience is not required. Volunteers will be trained by library staff. The first training sessions are expected to be scheduled in late summer/early fall 2014.

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