Digital Douglas County History

Lawrence Public Library
  • Brad Allen, Executive Director, Lawrence Public Library
  • Melissa Fisher Isaacs, Information Services Coordinator, Lawrence Public Library

Project Description

The Lawrence Public Library launched this project in partnership with the Watkins Museum of History in 2017. A portal to digital local history, Digital Douglas County History uses Omeka, an open source web-publishing platform, as its framework. Since its launch, the collection has grown to include nearly 1400 items, including oral histories, photographs, postcards, genealogy resources, web archives, and online exhibitions, and the site has been visited by over 4700 users. Looking forward, we have two goals for improving and developing the DDCH. First, we aim to provide a more diverse, equitable, and accurate representation of local history. We have found that building community engagement—particularly with marginalized communities—is difficult without sustained effort over time. For this reason, we propose creating a part-time, 3-year paid internship dedicated to developing momentum for community digitization and equitable representation of marginalized residents of our community. Our second goal is to improve the user experience for visitors to the site. We propose contracting with a web developer to make specific customizations which would improve navigation for visitors and provide a better experience when viewing resources on the site.

The Lawrence Public Library wishes to acknowledge the generous time and resources invested by the staff of the Watkins Museum of History, our past Hall Center for the Humanities interns, and especially community members in building Digital Douglas County History.

Partner Details

  • Brad Allen

    Executive Director, Lawrence Public Library


    Brad Allen is the Executive Director of the Lawrence Public Library. In almost 20 years of public library service, he has worked as a children’s librarian, teen librarian, subject specialist, public services supervisor, branch manager, and now executive director. His library career has taken him to Los Angeles, Seattle, and back to his native Kansas. In his life previous to working in libraries, Brad was a mathlete, wrote an oral history of a Los Angeles funk band, and played in a rock band.

  • Melissa Fisher Isaacs

    Information Services Coordinator, Lawrence Public Library


    Melissa Fisher Isaacs is the Information Services Coordinator at Lawrence Public Library in Lawrence, Kansas. Melissa got her start in libraries as a shelver at LPL in the summer of 1997; in the years since she’s done a lot of different things, almost all of them related to public history, research or libraries–or all three! She loves travel, hiking, old houses, glimpses into the human experience, learning to read the natural world, and the bittersweetness of time past.