Pella Community Memory Database

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Pella Community Memory Database 


What is the Pella Community Memory Database?

The Pella Community Memory Database (PCMD) is an ongoing project to locate, digitize, and present the history of Pella online. Photographs, letters, and many other types of supporting documents are being discovered and preserved through this project, which in the broadest sense is designed to tell the story of Pella, Iowa in a new and exciting way.  Pella is a town that values its history and has many, many historical documents, but in the past those documents have not always been readily available or easy to access by the general public.  The Pella Community Memory Database seeks to rectify this issue.

History of the Project

On July 23, 2019, the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) announced recipients of the inaugural Accelerating Promising Practices for Small Libraries Grant Program. Pella Public Library was awarded $29,116 over the course of two years to create the Pella Community Memory Database. On September 1, 2021, the Pella Public Library was granted an additional $10,000 by the Vermeer Charitable Foundation to continue developing the PCMD.

Guiding Principles of the Project (our 4P)

Preserve History
The Pella Community Memory Database serves as a place for the history of Pella, Iowa, to be preserved. It makes an important backup and safeguard in the event that the original materials are damaged or destroyed. It also minimizes handling of the original materials, as the documents can be viewed without touching the originals.

Present History
The Pella Community Memory Database serves to present the history of Pella, Iowa - making it more widely accessible to the local community, and to researchers on the state, national, and international level. It is a centralized location for this history to be accessed, and in addition the PCMD provides new and exciting ways to be able to electronically search this collection and make historical connections 

Promote History
The Pella Community Memory Database serves as a tool to promote the history of Pella, Iowa to its citizens and to people all over the globe. Pursuing a forward-thinking project such as this one is a statement that Pella values its history and further ensures that a new generation of children, teens, and young adults have the resources to connect with this history in the most effective way possible.

Prompt History
The Pella Community Memory Database serves as a catalyst to encourage people to not only consider their own family history, but consider privately-owned documents and other materials that they may be able to contribute to the PCMD. The project will prompt citizens of Pella to come forward with previously unknown pieces of Pella history in order to share them with the larger community for the public good.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where is the digitization being done? 
The digitization is being done at the Pella Public Library. A study room has been reclaimed to provide a permanent place for the digitization equipment. 

Where did you get the equipment?
The equipment itself was funded as part of the initial IMLS grant. Equipment purchased included a high-resolution flat-bed scanner, as well as a high-resolution "book-edge" scanner. We also updated our overhead camera-style optical sweep scanner.

Who will do the work?
Grants provide for a part-time Library Digitization Assistant to do the primary scanning and adding of descriptive metadata for the items.

Can I get more information about the project?

Yes!  The current $10,000 grant on which the project operates is provided by the Vermeer Charitable Foundation.  The grant is providing for the hire of a Library Digitization Assistant to continue the work of expanding the Pella Community Memory Database.  This grant period runs through September 1, 2022.  At the request of the Vermeer Charitable Foundation, we are not providing additional public acknowledgement of their gift. Thank you for understanding.

Regarding the initial, two-year IMLS grant to create the Pella Community Memory Database: Here is the 6-page grant narrative (PDF) which describes the project in detail, as well as the proposed schedule of completion (PDF) for the project.  Also take a look at the proposed budget (PDF) for the project, as well as the budget justification (PDF), which describes the items in the budget.

For more information, email the Assistant Library Director who serves as the Project Director. He is the primary contact for all inquiries on the project.

I want to help! How can I get involved?
See our project volunteers page for information on how you can help expand the greatest online history resource in Pella!

Where can i get information on the current status of the project?
Check our project status page for the latest information!


Institute of Museum and Library Services Logo

This project was made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services Grant Number LG-27-19-0186-19.

Este proyecto ha sido posible en parte por el Instituto de Servicios de Museos y Bibliotecas concesión número LG-27-19-0186-19.