Duneland can turn their computers, or any device that will connect to the
internet, into their own museums with the Westchester Public Library’s
PastPerfect software program.
December, anyone from around the world can look at hundreds, and soon
thousands, of historical photographs from the Prairie Club, the
Chesterton Tribune photo archives, and the Flora Richardson Foundation
online at westchesterpl.pastperfectonline.com.
Serena Sutliff gave the WPL Board of Directors a peek at how the site works
Thursday. Currently there are 798 photos uploaded to the site, most of which
are Prairie Club photos that date back to 1908. Tribune photos, which
were given to the museum by the late publisher Warren H. Canright, are being
Sutliff said a
media graphics student is digitizing the photos from the collections and is
uploading about 50 per week using an Epson 1100 XL-PH flatbed scanner.
And there is still
much work to do. Sutliff said there is a total of roughly 15,000 pictures.
“I’m guessing it’s
going to be four or five years before all the pictures are up,” she told the
learned about the PastPerfect software and asked former WPL Director Phil
Baugher about getting it for the museum in 2013. Baugher had told her he
would see if there was room in the budget.
WPL paid for a
$2,000 update last year and Sutliff said the yearly fee is $350.
Photos are stored
on an external hard drive for the archives and the museum will be able to
keep the scanned images even if something happens to PastPerfect, Sutliff
said, but it’s likely not to go away anytime soon since the software is used
by over 9,500 museums.
“It’s made by
museum people for museum people,” she said.
Site visitors can
type in a keyword into the database, such as Indiana Dunes, and peruse all
the photographs that match that category. Each photo is indicated by what
collection it is from, and some have descriptions of who or what is in them
with information found on the back of the original photographs.
Sutliff said she
thinks many people will get a kick out of the Prairie Club photos, as
members sported the new fashions of the time. The group, most of them from
Chicago, would take hikes at the Dunes on Saturday afternoons. “They were
very forward thinking people at the time,” she said.
She added that it’s
also interesting to see the Dunes as they were before there were homes,
businesses and steel mills.
The database can
also be accessed via the home page of the WPL website by clicking on “Search
Library Databases.” It is free for anyone to use.
“I think it’s
really exciting,” said WPL Board member Michael Livovich.
WPL Salary study
In business matters
Thursday, the board agreed to initiate a salary study for full-time Library
managers, looking into the possibility of increasing what they earn. WPL
Director Leea Yelich suggested the study after one employee was considering
taking a job offer elsewhere because of a higher salary.
“We need to make
sure we are comparable and competitive with other (library) organizations in
the area,” Yelich said. The budget has room for increases with anticipated
savings in the group insurance plan, she said.
supported having the study done but advised Yelich a decision to increase
the salaries won’t be right away, especially since the 2016 budget and
salaries have already been adopted.
Also, the Board
intends to meet in executive session sometime soon to discuss the possible
acquisition of a 1.5-acre parcel near the Ind. 49 and U.S. 20 cloverleaf.
The property owner has been trying to sell the land for some years now and
is considering donating it to WPL.