I will be honest. Those neat grey archival boxes in the photo above make my heart sing! Why? Because they represent another milestone in the KPL Soldier Card Project! Little did I know, when I proposed my idea to Kitchener Public Library CEO, Sonia Lewis, back in August 2013 that my world would have been turned upside down (but in a good way!)
Our project has been profiled in the media (The Record, Kitchener Post, CTV News, Gary Doyle Show on News570). We were honoured to have Andrea Bellemare of CBC KW do the first soldier biography (http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/kitchener-waterloo/kitchener-library-wants-you-to-adopt-wwi-soldiers-1.2491598), along with an on-air interview with Craig Norris about the project on 15 January 2014.
We’ve connected with volunteers from across the US and Canada and have had numerous offers of information and photos about local soldiers for our files. Currently, we have almost 90 volunteers transcribing cards and more who will be joining us for the research portion of the project. It’s been a daunting task keeping up with 90 transcribers – thanks to everyone for being patient and understanding. I’ve literally not seen my desktop for months, but am now feeling more settled as the inventory and scanning phases of the project are almost done.
Over 2100 World War I cards designated for transcription have been distributed to our transcription volunteers. Scanning of the WWI card collection has been completed. We expect the WWII cards to be scanned by the end of February. As the cards return, the cards are rehoused in acid-free folders and boxes by Information Services staff for safekeeping.
What’s up next? We’ll start sending out WWII cards for transcription and the WWI soldiers for research/biographies in early February. And, we’ll begin the upload of cards, transcriptions and biographies and start the cataloguing of the collection on our online site (details of which will be featured in later update on the project). Our goal is to have the complete WWI collection online by the end of August 2014.
All of this could not be done without the support and diligence of the project’s dedicated and passionate volunteers and many wonderful people here at KPL. Personally, I’d like to thank Sherry Erb, Liana Kreamer and my colleagues in Information Services – Ingrid, Valerie, and Karen. It’s been a lot of work, but immensely satisfying, knowing that the project has brought together a whole community of people who are working to honour the contribution of our military in Waterloo Region.
Many of our volunteers tell me in our email exchanges that they have been touched by the soldiers’ stories as they transcribe them. I hope that you’ll continue to let me know interesting finds and personal connections to the collection. Those stories make my day.