Director of Research and Access and Chief Librarian Chicago History Museum
Established in 2012, Chicago Collections (CCC) is a consortium of libraries, museums, and other institutions with archives that chronicle the rich history of Chicago. From its inception, it was designed to be the collaborative force for preserving, promoting, and sharing the diverse history and culture of the Chicago region. By engaging the local community, it has achieved significant success during its first decade. Through the creation of the portal, EXPLORE CHICAGO COLLECTIONS, users worldwide have free and open access to a shared repository of finding aids and digital images. Additionally content is made available through public programming that include lectures, panel discussions, and digital exhibits. A series of workshops for staff at member organizations has provided professional development opportunities, especially for smaller institutions. CCC continues to build a strong, involved membership now with more than 50 members ranging from academic and public libraries to zoos, while sustaining an effective, efficient organization. Implicit in its vision is a commitment to advocacy for the city that bears its name. In this session, on the eve of its 10th anniversary, the collective will share the strategies that have allowed CCC to grow a diverse membership and to thrive. These include crafting an adaptable infrastructure, developing an outreach agenda, and designing timelines and measurements of impact. Takeaways will include understanding the potential benefits of such a concept for members and the community at large and discovering lessons learned that may prove useful for participants considering similar ventures.
Recognize the value of Chicago’s inclusive strategies for developing its collaborative collections model and fostering an engaged community.
Assess the viability of this partnership concept for enhancing cross-cultural awareness.
Identify lessons learned by the CCC that may prove useful to those considering similar ventures.