SCC Library Receives Church in Community Grant

SCC Library Receives Church in Community Grant This picture is from the Mount Airy Museum of Regional History taken of White Plains Baptist Church circa 1940. The State Library of North Carolina has awarded the Surry Community College Library a LSTA “Church in Community” grant worth $42,433 with a $4,582 match. This project will preserve both the written histories of churches in Surry County and will also add a photographic-rich record to the Surry Digital Heritage website, www.surrydigitalheritage.org. The SCC Library is encouraging every church in Surry County to submit a written history or to construct a written history with photos.

Posted: Jun 10, 2019

The State Library of North Carolina has awarded the Surry Community College Library a LSTA “Church in Community” grant worth $42,433 with a $4,582 match.

Church in Community is a collaborative digital history project to continue the Saving Our Communities project (2018-2019). Churches were and are integral elements of life in communities in Surry County.

There are at least 188 churches in Surry County and the history of these churches is important in documenting community life in the 19thand 20thcenturies. This project will preserve both the written histories of churches in Surry County and will also add a photographic-rich record to the Surry Digital Heritage website, www.surrydigitalheritage.org

The Surry Community College Library is the coordinator for the digital history project. Principal partners in this project will be: The Mount Airy Museum of Regional History, three Surry County branches of the Northwestern Regional Library, Surry County African American Historical and Genealogical Society, Surry County Genealogical Society, and the Surry County Historical Society.  

The grant project manager is SCC Library Staff Member Sebrina Mabe, a Reference Assistant – Learning Resource Center, who has a master’s degree in State and Local History from Appalachian State University.  The Library Director and Associate Dean of Learning Resources, Dr. David Wright, will also participate as the project director. He will make contacts and do extensive promotion of the project in the community, and by actively soliciting photographs and materials to add to the digital collection.

“We will be informing churches about this project and will encourage every church to submit a written history or to construct a written history with photos. Inquiries about the project can be submitted to Sebrina Mabe at mabesc@surry.edu or to me at wrightd@surry.edu,” Wright said. 

The history of churches is an important link to people and activities in communities. In Surry County, with more than 188 churches, some dating back to the 1700s, there is a strong connection to the 20 communities already identified in the project.  Histories of churches, which may include membership lists and official records, provide researchers including genealogists and historians of local history with valuable information about life in the communities of Surry County. Many local digital history projects include historical information related to churches.  

Building on a successful implementation of the Surry County Digital Heritage (SCDH) project, began in July 2018 with an LSTA grant, this project will extend the theme of the 2018-2019 grant titled “Saving Our Communities” to include another important element of community life, the history of churches in Surry County.  Communities in the current project in Surry County include: Ararat, Bannertown, Beulah, Copeland, Devotion, Dobson, Elkin, Flat Rock, Franklin, Lowgap, Mount Airy, Mountain Park, Pilot Mountain, Rockford, Shoals, Siloam, Toast, Westfield, White Plains, and White Sulphur Springs.

This project will enable the continuing participation of the partner organizations, and build on the momentum of the Saving Our Communities project. The Saving Our Communities project has generated much interest in preserving historical records in digital form. Extending the project to include church histories and photos will significantly enrich the digital history of Surry County.  The Surry County Genealogical Society, one of the project partners, has given permission to digitize “A History of Surry County Churches,” published in 2003.  The book, which included only photographs of a building for each entry, will be used as the starting point of the project. It will be expanded to include photographs of people representing the churches included in the book. Public libraries in each community will coordinate the collection of photos from churches. 

Documents, membership lists, church directories and other information will be added about churches. The extensive church-related files of the Mount Airy Museum of Regional History will be digitized as part of this project. When the museum materials are digitized, along with the files of the Surry Baptist Association, there will be a digital collection to be used by genealogists and other researchers. Adding to the rich collection of documents, photographs will be solicited from all churches to add to the entries from the digitized book, “A History of Churches in Surry County.”Materials used for the book are in the Surry Community College Library Archives – listed in Appendix D. A few church histories that are in the Surratt Genealogy Room of Surry Community College Library will also be digitized. Some titles were previously digitized by Duke University in the Religion in North Carolina Digital Collection.

LSTA grant awards are made possible by funding from the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) as administered by the State Library of North Carolina, a division of the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (IMLS grant number LS-00-19-0034-19). LSTA grants are awarded in response to specific needs of public, academic and community college libraries. These federal funds are investments that help libraries deliver relevant and up-to-date services to their communities.


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