In the 1970s, R.U. history professor Elizabeth Balanoff conducted forty interviews with Chicagoans involved in the labor movement. The interviews were recorded, then transcribed. The recordings were returned to the interviewees, and the paper transcripts were put into three ring binders and consigned to filing cabinets. Word somehow leaked out about their existance and now and again, some researcher would inquire about them, and photocopies would get mailed.
I thought it would be wonderful to get these iterviews digitized. It would provide accessability to the researchers who already knew about them, and allow those who had never heard of them to become aware of their existance. It would also aid the photocopy bill, since some of these items are book-length.
I wrote the grant, and it was funded. The items are here: http://www2.roosevelt.edu/library/oralhistory/oralhistory.htm
And they were appreciated. In 2008, Elizabeth Balanoff was inducted into the Illinois Labor History Society's Union Hall of Honor because of her work on this project. And now, they have won another award. On June 28, I'll be in Washington D.C. to recieve the John Sessions Memorial Award for this project, an award which is presented annually by the Reference and User services Association (RUSA) to a library which has made a significant contribution to the labor movement. It is named for John Sessions, former American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) and co-chair of the AFL-CIO/ALA Joint Committee on Library Service to Labor Groups.
I wrote Elizabeth Balanoff and told her that her work was still winning prizes. I'm glad I could be a part of it.