Libraries have been one of the loves of my life for years. I was fortunate to be a military librarian for over 30 years and I still volunteer as a librarian for the USS Midway (CV-41) Research Library. I thought that I’d celebrate military libraries with a re-posting of this library tribute from the U.S Naval Academy website. https://www.usna.com/tributes-and-stories-1963#Legacy
I learned about this website from a recent Scuttlebutt Vol 6, issue 3, 11 February 2021, edited by Carl Snow, put out bi-weekly for the library volunteers and other interested members of the USS Midway.
The real Keepers of the Flame are libraries. There are two categories of libraries worthy of your consideration: genealogy libraries and military/naval history libraries. What to send to each? That is certainly up to you, but I suggest you contact them first to see if they would welcome your treasures, your documents, your artifacts. Our Naval Academy Nimitz Library is one of the best, and Dr.Jennifer Bryan maintains its Special Collections and Archives. Here is the web site entry about such donations from another major military library, the Navy Department Library (under the Naval History and Heritage Command) at the Washington Navy Yard:
The Navy Library is open to the public and provides resources vital to the writing and publishing of naval history, as well as information relating to the needs of today’s Navy. The library catalog is online, and the library posts numerous publications, documents and subject presentations on the Naval History & Heritage Command’s Website. The library’s collection continues to expand thanks to the installation of compact mobile shelving and materials acquired from Navy offices, private individuals, and organizations such as the Naval Historical Foundation. Significant holdings have been obtained from disestablished libraries (including Naval Air Systems and the Navy Judge Advocate General), as well as from libraries whose collections have been downsized (such as the State Department). Over 13% of the book titles in the library are unique in the international OCLC (Worldcat) database.
Materials that enhance the Archives’ collections and support the research of U.S. Navy personnel, historians, scholars, and other researchers are greatly appreciated. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have material you are interested in donating. Do not send unsolicited material.
What type of items are of interest? The question is, what items do you have? Email the library to see if they would welcome your items into their collection, which includes:
- Cruise books
- Cryptologic documents
- Early military and foreign language periodicals
- General/special orders and circulars (pre-World War II)
- Manuscript collection (including letters, journals, diaries, logbooks, etc.)
- Modern Biographic Files
- Naval administrative histories of World War II
- Naval Technical Mission to Japan reports
- Navy officer registers (1800-1994) and directories (1908-1942)
- Navy shipbuilding contracts
- Navy uniforms
- Navy Z files
- Postal Covers Collection
Some of your items almost certainly relate to family history. Genealogy libraries are well known to researchers, perhaps not so much to the general public. For example, the Los Angeles Public Library (LAPL) is considered one of the ten destination libraries for genealogy, as is the Birmingham [Alabama] Public Library and the Detroit Public Library – do a search for top genealogy libraries. Vertical files can hold collections that are not bound– and LAPL even has its own bindery. If you were to send them loose pages of your unpublished biography, they will bind it and enter it into their collection–and WorldCat. Check with your local library and talk to the Genealogy Librarian, let them know what you have. They are so much more interested in your holdings than your kids!