Sonoma State University Library Unveils the Gaye LeBaron Collection and Website
To preserve and share decades' worth of research notes and primary source materials, Gaye LeBaron, senior columnist for The Press Democrat, donated her collection of approximately 10,000 documents to Sonoma State University for public access as well as safekeeping.
Working closely with LeBaron, the University Library has readied her unique collection and is pleased to announce the materials are now available for public review in the Special Collections area on the third floor of the Jean and Charles Schulz Information Center.
While an appointment is necessary to use the materials, some initial searching can be done via the Internet. The Gaye LeBaron Collection website allows people to view a list of the topics in the collection on the Web at http://libweb.sonoma.edu/lebaron/. Additional information on each topic can be found in the library's main catalog.
“It is a privilege to play a part in preserving the region’s heritage by maintaining this collection,” says Dayle Reilly, Coordinator of the North Bay Regional Collection where the material is housed.
During her 40-plus years with The Press Democrat, LeBaron wrote close to 8,000 columns, most of which required in-depth research. The Gaye LeBaron Collection is comprised of 760 topic-based folders organized with the original subject headings used by LeBaron. Each folder contains the materials gathered to fuel her well-conceived newspaper columns. The types of documents found in the collection include:
• Gaye LeBaron’s handwritten notes derived from personal interviews and other primary sources.
• Letters addressed to Gaye LeBaron suggesting topics or responding to columns.
• Personal and institutional memoirs and research papers.
• Articles from The Press Democrat and other publications.
• Government and legal documents.
• Photographs, drawings, brochures and ephemera.
Already, interest in The Gaye LeBaron Collection is strong, with many students using this rich historical resource to complete coursework and plan for future research projects, says Reilly. Community members and organizations are using the collection to learn more about their neighborhoods and towns, to gain an understanding of regional and county issues and events, to research prominent personalities, and to gather historical information for books and articles.
A team of volunteers performed the initial inventory of the collection after it was donated in 2001. For the past two years, Judy Hudson, a retired professional librarian and a former SSU library cataloger, has done a large percentage of the cataloging and indexing.
Cultural institutions, such as libraries, archives, and museums, are acquiring the technologies needed to digitize unique collections, allowing direct remote delivery to readers, says Reilly. Advancing global access to unusual resources, such as the Gaye LeBaron Collection, supplies researchers, far and near, with hard-to-find information – adding value to scholarly or personal research endeavors related to local communities and the North Bay, she says.
With this in mind, and with the added advantage of protecting originals from excessive handling, the Library is implementing plans for the full-text digitization of selected documents in the Collection.
To set up an appointment to use the Gaye LeBaron Collection, call (707) 664-4152 or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. A limited number of appointment slots are available each week.
The Press Democrat provides substantial financial support to preserve and make accessible Gaye LeBaron's papers, with first-year funding supplemented by The New York Times Foundation. The Sonoma State University Alumni Association donated funds for proposal writing and pre-receipt planning.
The University Library’s North Bay Regional Collection provides access to a wide range of information about the North Bay counties of Lake, Marin, Mendocino, Napa, Solano and Sonoma. The intersession hours are Monday -Thursday, 8 a.m. - 7 p.m. and Fridays, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Please call (707) 664-2595 for updated Library hours. A daily parking permit ($2.50) is required Monday -Thursday, 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fridays except holidays. Daily permits are not valid in reserved lots.
CAPTION: Above, Dayle Reilly, coordinator of the North Bay Regional Collection, looks over papers and letters from one of the many archival boxes housing material from the Gaye LeBaron Collection donated to the SSU library. The long-time Press Democrat columnist wrote more than 8,000 columns and did research during her 40-year career at the daily newspaper that illustrates the unique history of the North Bay.