By GUY LAMOLINARA
In April 2000, the Library of Congress will be 200. One of the keystones of the Library's celebration of its Bicentennial is the Local Legacies project. The Library would like to invite all Americans to participate in honoring not just the Library of Congress but all libraries and the important role they play in community life.
Is there a parade, rodeo, music festival, craft or other event or activity that is unique to your community and worthy of preservation?
Working through their members of Congress, Americans across the nation are participating in an unprecedented effort sponsored by the Library of Congress to document unique traditions and place that documentation in the collections of the Library's American Folklife Center. These traditions can be recorded in photographs, as sound or video recordings, or on paper.
Called Local Legacies, the project is one of the programs that the Library is sponsoring as part of its Bicentennial in 2000 (see the Web site at www.loc.gov/bicentennial).
Dr. Billington has extended an invitation to all Americans to participate in Local Legacies. Working through their member of Congress, Local Legacies volunteers will document their local culture and deposit portions of the documentation in the collections of the Library's American Folklife Center. "The Local Legacies archives will serve future generations of Americans as a reminder of the importance of preserving our national culture," the Librarian said.
Libraries will play an important role in Local Legacies. Many libraries will either suggest projects or assist in research and documentation. Also, it is hoped that state and community libraries will house the entire documentation project, as the Library of Congress will only receive a selection of the materials, because of space limitations.
Anyone who is interested in suggesting a Local Legacies project or working on one that is under way should contact the Library's Bicentennial Program Office at (202) 707-2000; toll free (800) 707-7145; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Local Legacies proposals include:
Documenting the collaboration of African American and Native American musicians in Montana as they work on a musical score; recording events at the Ostrich Festival in Arizona and the Patsy Cline Festival in Virginia; tracing the route of the Underground Railroad; photographing a
Hispanic Day parade in New Jersey; and taping a clogging dance in western North Carolina.
"We are not seeking professional folklorists in this project," said Peter Bartis, a folklorist in the American Folklife Center and the Local Legacies project director.
According to Mr. Bartis, more than 100 projects have already been proposed by citizens to their member of Congress. The projects reflect the broad diversity of the nation.
In May 2000, all participants and members of Congress will be invited to the Library of Congress to celebrate their contributions to recording American customs at the end of the century.