LSU Libraries received national recognition at the annual Book & Media Awards Ceremony at the midwinter meeting of the American Library Association (ALA) on Sunday. “Free People of Color in Louisiana: Revealing an Unknown Past,” a collaborative digital project led by LSU Libraries, was one of only four resources nationwide to make the annual list of Best Historical Materials, announced by the Reference and User Services Association (RUSA) during the Book and Media Awards Ceremony at the ALA’s Midwinter meeting in Boston.
The list of sources is selected by the Historical Materials committee, which seeks to improve the usefulness of bibliographies and indexes in the field of history. Each year, the Committee compiles and publishes its “Best Historical Materials” in Reference and User Services Quarterly (RUSQ), RUSA’s research journal. In addition, the Committee evaluates the pattern and effectiveness of coverage in all fields of history, promotes enhanced availability of historical works and information, and serves as liaison among bibliographers, indexers, publishers, and professional associations.
“Free People of Color in Louisiana” is an NEH funded project that digitally brings together archival collections of personal and family papers, documenting the lives of people of African descent who were either born free or who escaped from slavery and lived freely in the United States, prior to 1865. The site provides access to over 30,000 pages of family and personal papers, business records, and public documents dispersed among the LSU Libraries’ Special Collections and grant partners that include the Louisiana State Museum Historical Center, the Historic New Orleans Collection, Tulane University’s Louisiana Research Collection, and New Orleans Public Library. LSU Libraries received the $194,152 two-year grant in 2013, and it concluded in April 2015.