Report: “As the War Unfolds, This Boston Librarian is Helping Preserve Ukraine’s Cultural Treasures”
From The Boston Globe:
“Erasing people’s identity, you’re able to control them further, and to control the narrative,” said Kristin Parker, Boston Public Library’s lead curator and manager of the arts. “In times of war, it’s a tactic.”
Parker is a lead trainer in an international volunteer network of what she calls “cultural heritage first responders” organized by the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM) and the Smithsonian Cultural Rescue Initiative.
Her volunteer work with the network is not part of her job at the Boston Public Library.
Parker’s fascination with rescuing cultural property stems from her curatorial work and growing up in Needham in a military family. “My dad was a soldier, deployed to Vietnam,” she said. “When I learned how ‘monuments men’ recovered art during wartime, I thought, ‘Can I put my knowledge of war and heritage together?’” In 2016, she trained with ICCROM and the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C.
Other cultural workers have been feverishly preserving Ukrainian digital records. In February, Anna E. Kijas, head of the Lilly Music Library at Tufts University, cofounded Saving Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Online (SUCHO).
“I was prepping for a music library conference after the invasion, and I thought, ‘What could a group of music librarians do to preserve what’s available digitally?’” said Kijas, whose volunteer work is also apart from her job.
Kijas put the word out on Twitter, and more than 1,000 people volunteered the first week. There are currently around 20 volunteers with SUCHO in the Boston area.
About Gary Price
Gary Price (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. He earned his MLIS degree from Wayne State University in Detroit. Price has won several awards including the SLA Innovations in Technology Award and Alumnus of the Year from the Wayne St. University Library and Information Science Program. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com.