A digitized collection of the earliest yearbooks of Buffalo’s second high school are now published for all to access at: https://nyheritage.org/collections/masten-park-high-school-chronicle-yearbooks. This project would never have come into being without the hard work and determination of Celia White, a professional librarian, who is also a volunteer archivist and alumna of City Honors, and whose experience in physical archives and digital libraries inspired her to pursue this project of making the school’s unique heritage available to everyone.
About the collection: The Masten Park High School Chronicles are paper-bound, semi-quarterly publications of Masten Park High School in Buffalo, New York. Four to six issues per year, 1900-1927, featured literary and journalistic writing of students, photos of sports teams and activities, advertisements for local business in Buffalo, and in the June issues, portraits of graduating seniors. A few issues are missing, as no copies were present in the physical collection held at City Honors School.
About the project: One hundred and six volumes, 1900-1927, were digitized. Each page can be viewed as an image, and the text of the yearbooks is fully searchable for names and other terms. The bound volumes were scanned at 300 ppi, 8 bit grayscale to produce uncompressed TIFF images, including covers, inside covers, and blanks. Pages were also scanned for text through Optical Character Recognition, which allowed all content, including names and dates, to be searchable and viewed as text.
Background: Masten Park High School was the second public high school in Buffalo, New York. It opened in 1897 on the East Side of Buffalo in the Masten Park neighborhood. By 1900, MPHS had enrolled over 1,100 students, as the population of Buffalo soared. A fire during the school day on March 27, 1912, which almost completely destroyed the building. At great cost, the school was rebuilt and reopened in 1914. The building is renowned for its architectural influences, and is now on the National Register of Historic Places. The yearbooks chronicle the students, staff and faculty of the school, and its famous Principal Dr. Frank Sheldon “Fearless” Fosdick. The building served as home to three more Buffalo Public Schools: Fosdick-Masten High School, Girls Vocational High School, and City Honors School.
About the partnerships: The Western New York Regional Library Council’s (WNYLRC) Regional Bibliographic Data Bases and Interlibrary Resources Sharing Program (RBDB) provided the grant funding for this project.
New York Heritage is a research portal for students, educators, historians, genealogists, and anyone else who is interested in learning more about the people, places and institutions of New York State. The collections in New York Heritage represent a broad range of historical, scholarly, and cultural materials held in libraries, museums, and archives throughout the state. Collection items include photographs, letters, diaries, directories, maps, books, and more.
The Buffalo Public Schools Libraries is a member of WNYLRC.
A message from Christine Waterman, President of SLAWNY:
The School Librarians’ Association of Western New York (SLAWNY) has recently become an Organizational Member of WNYLRC which will assist us in growing our organization. We are enthusiastic about this new relationship and had a wonderful SLAWNY membership meeting on February 6th at WNYLRC. We look forward to growing current relationships and building new relationships with other librarians, educators, and community members to support ongoing student learning and successes.
SLAWNY member meeting at WNYLRC, February 6, 2018
The School Librarians’ Association of Western New York (SLAWNY) mission is to lead school librarians in advancing the profession; to encourage, promote, and advocate the interests of school library programs and school librarians; and to ensure that each student becomes an active reader, responsible information-seeker, critical thinker and life-long learner.
WNYLRC welcomes new member organization, the Buffalo Broadcasters! Rich Newberg, one of BBA’s co-founders and former TV news reporter, related to us the fascinating story of how the BBA got its start:
Rescuing WNY’s moving image history
By Rich Newberg (also reported in a Special to the Buffalo News)
Before I signed off on WIVB-TV for the last time, as 2015 came to an end, I was given an hour of air time to revisit my 46 years as a broadcast journalist. The memoir, “One Reporter’s Journey,” was a labor of love, but posed a challenge to me and my longtime colleague and friend Mike Mombrea Jr., who co-produced the piece. We had only a month and a half to navigate through terabytes of material that I had hoarded all those years.
In the newsroom, I was always the “go-to-guy” for fellow reporters who needed that one historic moment that would make their stories complete. Those moments lived inside my cassettes and I knew where to find them.
There was so much history stacked around my desk that on at least two occasions during my 37 years at ! Channel 4, the late General Manager Lou Verruto ordered that my cubicle be draped with yellow crime tape, warning staffers of potentially dangerous avalanches. Part of my collection of old scripts, tapes, and memorabilia once toppled into Jacquie Walker’s cubicle, smashing a glass candy jar with her name engraved on it. We’re still friends despite the incident, though she is apt to remind me that she no longer serves candy to our co-workers.
Mike and I were able to scan through all the big stories that defined my life as a newsman, selecting the nuggets of extraordinary events and people who, I believe, cried out for a curtain call. The passage of time allowed me to reflect on the meaning of each and every story and its place in Buffalo history.
Buffalo takes its history seriously. In fact, in the 1960s the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society began storing the daily news film from the three commercial TV stations, ending the practice of throwing out “yesterday’s news.” Walter Dunn, who ran the Society back then, was quoted as saying “It’s not up to us to decide what’s important. We just need to save it and let those in the future figure that out.”
A half century later, we’re finally ready to figure it out.
WIVB-TV General Manager Dominic Mancuso and parent company Nexstar have reaffirmed an earlier agreement allowing the Buffalo Broadcasters Association to digitize the station’s news film and early videotapes, which are now rapidly deteriorating on the shelf.
“It will allow students, historians, and others to explore the rich history of Buffalo through the eyes of local television newscasts, just as residents viewed it when it happened,” Mancuso said. “Reading about it is one thing, but actually being able to see it is so much more comprehensive an experience. We thought it was a great idea and were happy to re-launch the project.”
WIVB-TV has been a leader in honoring Buffalo’s colorful past. Some of my most gratifying years as senior correspondent were spent exploring the city’s roots in the civil rights movement,! our glory days as an industrial powerhouse, and the people whose actions exemplified “The City of Good Neighbors.”
When Channel 4 turned 50 in 1998, the staff treated viewers to a nostalgic journey back to the very first days of television in Buffalo. What a kick to see Ilio Dipaolo in the wrestling ring at the Aud, and Jack Kemp quarterbacking the Bills. Van Miller was a young kid from Dunkirk hoping he’d be accepted into living rooms across Western New York.
Bringing back Buffalo’s moving image history was meant to be. Thousands of reels of news film from Channels 2, 4, and 7 have been saved by rescuers on many occasions. Some broadcast industry veterans even sheltered the rare footage in their basements until warehouse space could be found. They understood that life, as captured through the lens of the photojournalist and the reporter, is the first draft of history.
Stories of rescues are legendary, says Steve Reszka, president of the Buffalo Broadcasters Association.
“My favorite is how a high-profile Buffalo broadcaster went dumpster diving to save film that a station threw out because they didn’t have space for it,” he said. “Imagine the history that would have been lost.”
A decade ago, the Buffalo Broadcasters Association struck its first agreement with WIVB-TV and digitized all the news film aired in 1966, the first full year of reports that were saved in the archive. Chris Musial, who was the station’s general manager at the time, said, “We are the video archive. We’re the video memory keepers. Nobody else has that, and if we don’t do something about it, it’s lost.”
Losing the moving images from the 1960s would have been a pity for documentary producers like Susan Stern. Her late husband, Spain Rodriguez, was a product of that era, and became a nationally renowned “underground” cartoonist. He grew up in Buffalo, and, according to Stern, “was inspired by Buffalo’s multiracial bohemia of the 1950s and 1960s.” When she began writing the story of his life for television, Stern reached out to the Buffalo Broadcasters Association in search of video.
“Many people told me I would never find television footage of these pieces of American history, so when I learned that the Buffalo Broadcasters Association had saved original film footage from the ’60s, I was hopeful.”
She became “ecstatic” after the Association provided her with film footage of the Road Vultures Motorcycle Club, an outlaw group of bikers. Rodriguez once rode with that gang, although, according to Stern, he tried to steer members away from criminal activity! . The Buffalo clips will appear in “The Provocations of Spain Rodriguez,” Stern’s work in progress.
I began my own video memoir by telling viewers I wanted them to get to know me a little bit better, what made me tick as a newsman, and the lessons I learned from covering just about every aspect of life in Western New York. In the process, I got to know myself a whole lot better.
My hope is that the same will be true for all the people of Buffalo, as our moving image history comes to life. The defining moments in our collective journey could very well help us chart our future, and, at the very least, help us understand how we arrived at where we are today.
A Buffalo comedian recently lamented the fact that he is “talking proud,” but doesn’t know why. Hang in there, buddy. With the “click of a mouse” ! you will be able to call up just about any chapter in Buffalo’s storied history on your computer. Those exceptional Buffalo moments in time will be accessible using key words or names, just as you would conduct a Google search on any given topic.
The Buffalo story is about to be shared with the world, through the words and actions of its own citizens. That accomplishment alone will be a source of pride. Actually seeing how we weathered some of history’s greatest challenges should give us the knowledge and confidence that only comes with the gift of self-discovery.
Rich Newberg was a reporter and anchor at WIVB for more than 37 years until his retirement in 2015. He is a member of the Buffalo Broadcasters Hall of Fame.
OERs – Not Just for Academics! By Cece Fuoco, School Library Systems Director – Staff Specialist at Cattaraugus-Allegeny BOCES
The Western New York Library Resource Council’s Shared Resource Committee recently hosted an Open Educational Resources (OER) conference at Hilbert College (see blog article posted November 7, by Lucy Bungo). Many of the topics related to audiences working in higher education. Academia has been receptive and proactive in sharing resources, and instructor-written textbooks no longer preclude those with limited financial resources from reading assignments and engaging in classroom discussions. However, there were a few attendees like myself who were curious to learn if OERs were applicable to k-12 school curricula.
Many New York public schools benefit from state aid making them capable of funding textbooks more cost-effectively than higher education institutions. However, not all public schools have budgets for providing sufficient technology or staff support that would enable them to access and use OERs. Nonetheless, I found the day to be engaging and highly informative with my notes to serve as a reference.
Upon returning from the conference, I was invited to speak with two of CA BOCES’ Career and Technical Education Centers where high school juniors and seniors are preparing to work in specific industries. After a review of resources, several teachers asked if there were online textbooks, resources for criminal justice, tutorials for welding and automotive technology. Remembering what I had learned at the OER conference, I was able to share http://www.ltcconline.net/greenl/oer/oerlistfromlistserve.htm which complements many areas of the curriculum, and https://www.oercommons.org/ which offers resources K-adult education with applicability to several BOCES’ classes.
Just recently, I was asked to consider purchasing an eTextbook for an instructor of automotive technology. A quick search revealed that the author offers a free version of the eTextbook. The instructor was thrilled, and I owe it to new knowledge gained at the OER conference!
If another OER conference is held, please consider visiting. (You just might find me “freely” sharing at a poster session).
Open UP! Embracing the Open Educational Resources Movement and the Library’s Role In It
by Lucy Bungo (Villa Maria College, member of the WNYLRC Resource Sharing Committee)
Over the last two decades, our libraries have provided valuable services despite the twin challenges of shrinking budgets and increasingly expensive resources. It’s important to remember that our users, particularly students, feel the same financial strain that libraries do. Libraries are perfectly poised to ease that burden by taking advantage of new technologies and opportunities for collaboration to create and maintain educational resources that are open to all. WNYLRC’s Open UP! Embracing the Open Educational Resources Movement and the Library’s Role In It explored ideas, implementation, and the issues surrounding opening educational resources.
The conference, held at Hilbert College in Hamburg, New York, opened with Nicole Allen’s keynote “Open Educational Resources: Reducing Costs, Expanding Access and Improving Efficacy.” Through her work at the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC), Nicole is part of the movement to make “open” resources the new default, whether it’s open education materials, open access articles, or open data sets. The status quo and current textbook market are broken; new formats and leasing models have not alleviated the financial pressure that textbooks place on students, so in many circumstances students have opted to go without textbooks or even taken different or fewer courses to avoid textbook costs. These barriers can be reduced and in some cases grades can be raised by using resources that are free and conform to the principles of the 5 Rs (retain, reuse, revise, remix, and redistribute). After a comprehensive examination of various groups that are creating and or hosting OERs, Nicole discussed what librarians can do to help the OER movement blossom. Of course, we can search for and evaluate them, as well as host them for faculty. But we can also partner with other campus entities to offer grants for courses designed to use OERs, give awards for OER use, offer professional development events focusing on OERs, and become certified in Creative Commons licensing.
Our next speaker was Kim Shimomura, who offered “A Legal Perspective on Creative Commons (CC) Licensing” and the appropriate ways to use it for open education resources. She also gave practical advice to avoid some common concerns when using CC to license your own work or remix the work of another author. CC is not the anti-copyright; it works with existing copyright laws, giving authors control over their “original works that are fixed in a tangible medium of expression.” Kim unpacked this particular phrasing to explain what can and cannot be copyrighted, both in terms of content and medium, and who may own the copyrights to materials produced in a variety of circumstances. She also reminded us that CC is a company, and that even though 1.2 billion works are covered by the copyright declarations they developed, that there are limits on those copyright declarations. However, when used appropriately, CC copyright declarations can be used to ensure a work meets the 5 Rs and can be used as an open education resource.
After these two speakers, there were three breakout sessions. I chose to attend Ginger Bidell’s “OER and Learning Resources at Western Governors University.” WGU is a unique institution. It is completely online and courses are competency based; students pay for 6-month term in which they take as many or as few course as they wish, taking one course at a time and completing it before moving on to the next. Students at WGU do not pay out of pocket for the digital resources or textbooks required to complete the course, as WGU provides these materials when a student enrolls in it. Because WGU has 86,000 students, and courses are refreshed every two years and can change quickly to an accurate yet less expensive alternative resource, WGU has significant negotiating power and can work with vendors to acquire learning materials at affordable prices. However, even WGU is not immune from the difficulties more traditional colleges and universities are facing, and they have started an OER initiative to combat this. They identified courses that could make use of OERs in a variety of subject areas, and then pursued textbooks and materials through a variety of sources such as OpenStax, YouTube, Khan Academy, and PhET Simulations.
We then broke for a delicious lunch, and followed it with an activity presented by CeCe Fuoco. CeCe walked us through an educational tool called Breakout Boxes (breakout.edu). These boxes can be purchased or constructed in DIY fashion. The teacher then designs a lesson and puzzles to reinforce the newly learned material. The students must work out puzzles, in small groups or as a single large group, to unlock the Breakout Box. Modifications can be made to turn the Breakout Box into an icebreaker activity or a reward for students.
After lunch and the Breakout Box was our Lightning Rounds Session. Incidentally, all Lightning Round presenters came from Buffalo State College. First was Leah Galka and Eugene Harvey and their presentation “O’er the Moon for OER.” They conducted an internal survey to measure the impact of textbook costs, with startling findings that echoed Nicole Allen’s from earlier in the morning. Leah and Eugene created ALMI, the Affordable Learning Materials Initiative, as a branding and outreach tool to encourage OER adoption and make it visible across campus. Out of this, they created a LibGuide to educate faculty on the differences between “open” resources, “affordable” resources, and specifically “open educational resources”. They also developed an awards program that gave recognition and professional development funds to faculty on campus who were using OERs in their courses.
The next Lightning Round presentation was Lynn Puma and Chris Sackett of Barnes & Noble’s Buff State bookstore. Barnes & Noble recognizes the needs of students and is aware of the difficulties that high textbook costs have placed on academic achievement. They are partnering with OER hosts like OpenStax to create a platform for hosting additional materials, such as PowerPoint presentations, quizzes, and test question banks. Like some other vendors, Barnes & Noble is seeking to provide a more complete course rather than just a textbook. In the future, they may also help with Print on Demand services for OERs as well.
Rounding out the Lightning Rounds was the presentation from Dr. Kyeonghi Baek, faculty member, and Joe Riggie, information systems librarian. They detailed their partnership through the Fostering Innovation in Teaching with Technology Academy, which is a project-specific faculty development opportunity at Buff State. Dr. Baek and Joe sought to flip the classroom of Dr. Baek’s statistics course and have students review pre-statistics mathematics outside the course so that class content could focus on the new statistics content. They identified five math skills for the students to review, and found videos and websites as well as created original content that would lead students through a review of the material. These learning materials were loaded into a LibGuide, and the results were positive both for the students and the administration. Test scores were raised, it and proved the viability of the content farm model as well as reduced barriers to OER adoption by making use of familiar tools.
The closing keynote, “Enabling a Wide Open Future,” was delivered by John Shank. Circulation of physical textbooks is a dying model, and technology is enabling things that were never before considered possible. Previously, libraries operated from a lens of scarcity, but now we are working with through a tsunami of overabundance in terms of resources available. Libraries are perfectly poised to navigate this because of our established cross-campus or cross-community connections, and we are already quite used to sharing. To this, we need to first clear a small path and pick a specific outcome to achieve or impact we want to have. Then, we will use our search skills to find the most suitable solutions, find partners to help us make it a reality, and then continue to lead by example. We remove the barriers so others can join in. The time to begin is now.
After listening to the speakers throughout the day, many of us were fired up to begin OER initiatives in our own libraries. The conference concluded with the afternoon speakers assembled on the presentation stage fielding a large number of questions from attendees during a facilitated discussion. Different questions were pertinent to the individual landscapes at each institution, but the beauty of OERs is that their flexibility and adaptability means that each question could still be relevant to all. I have several ideas for launching OERs at my own library, and I was not alone. I’m sure that there will be many more local presenters (from more than just Buffalo State!) at the next Open Educational Resources Conference!