Our local history room is called the New York State Room and is managed by librarian Sarah Livingston. It is a “white glove” room and anyone using the room must wear white gloves while doing research. Oils and dirt on your hands can permanently damage archival materials, and the gloves help keep items clean. This week, we are highlighting just a few of the more than 15,000 items in that room. Sarah has written the article below to tell you about them.
In the New York State Room, we have many types of resources that can be used for many different purposes. This time of year can make people stop and reflect comparisons of what was to what is. The winter months are great for setting some time aside for getting at those local history questions you have had in the back of your mind or to just settle that debate you are having with a friend.
Perhaps you have an interest in the economy and the local environment. For instance, did you know that we have many economic and business related publications in the New York State Room? If you would like to know what the Strategic Plan for Downtown Oneonta was in 1994, we have it. Interested in the retail market and economic profile of the 1980s? We have it. Looking for historical information on water resources and other environmental attributes of the area? We have it. Interested in looking at an old comprehensive plan for the town or the city of Oneonta? We have them. Our publication collection concentrates primarily on the town and the city of Oneonta and Otsego County, but we do have items that contain studies that impact a wider area. One of those is the final environment impact study done in the 1970s on Interstate 88. Paired with more current studies out there today on our area, it could be an interesting topic to study. We also have documents on the NYSEG cleanup of the former Manufactured Gas Plant. You never know what you’ll find that interests you until you look.
Tied into our resources on economic and environmental traits of the area are other resources that can help you in a variety of ways. We have the Oneonta area City Directories. Depending on the year, these directories can include the Sidney area, as well as the Cooperstown area. Look at the ads, research a person or business, or find out who lived in your home. The possibilities are endless.
Also to help you with that burning curiosity, are our vertical files on different businesses and subjects (i.e. – Floods, Water treatment, Census data, Hotels). If our files don’t go back far enough for you, there is always The Daily Star on microfilm. Going back to 1890,The Daily Star” is one of the best tools our area has to research historical events.
If reflecting on the economic and geography of our area is not for you, perhaps you would enjoy looking through old yearbooks. We have a large run of Oneonta High School yearbooks, and many Hartwick College and State University College at Oneonta yearbooks. Our vertical files also include articles on different local personalities. Over the years, many people have used the vertical files, yearbooks and The Daily Star microfilm to do their research. This includes fourth-graders completing their local history projects, college students studying small-town USA, family members compiling scrapbooks as gifts to their loved ones, and more.
We are always looking to improve these collections for our patrons. Perhaps you have an old yearbook we don’t have? Perhaps you know of a study that we should have? Let us know, we would love to hear about it.
Library Hours: 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Friday; 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday; closed Sunday.
Marie Bruni is director of Huntington Memorial Library in Oneonta. Her column appears in the community section of The Daily Star every Thursday. Her columns can be found online at www.thedailystar.com/librarycorner.