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Topanga Canyon News

Digital Launch Party At Topanga Library
Posted by Melissa Simon on Sep 25, 2013 - 3:45:42 PM

TOPANGA CANYON—The Topanga Library will be hosting a free launch party for the Topanga Digital History collection on October 12.

Chase McMunn, community library manager for the Topanga Library, told Canyon News the collection is a website that was created through a partnership between the County of Los Angeles Public Library and the Topanga Historical Society.

“The goal is to create a local digital history collection using video interviews we filmed,” McMunn said. “We’ll be starting with the initial six interviews on the website,” he added.

The six interviews McMunn mentioned include: actress Ellen Greer; Topanga-born Lynn Dickoff; Nancy Williams, who moved to the area as a young child; Richard “Dick” Sherman, a businessman that moved from Ohio to Topanga; Rose Wiley, listed as Topanga’s oldest native; and conservation biologist and certified arborist Rosi Dagit.

Topanga Library. Photo courtesy of L.A. County Arts Commission

McMunn said the idea for the digital history collection came from the fact that the library opened in 2012 and there is not really a built-in local history collection like most other libraries.

“We felt it was an important part of the library’s role to help save the history of the library for future generations,” he said.

With all the media present today, McMunn said he tried to think of what a collection would look like and what artifacts could be part of it. With that in mind, McMunn said they developed the idea of an online collection.

“We developed the idea of an online history collection that hopefully will grow to include more than just videos, you know also photos that the community donates and maybe if we can get news articles we can put that in there as well because those are always valuable resources as well,” said McMunn. “We’re trying to fill that role of being a source of local history in the new technological times," he added.

The purpose of the launch party, according to McMunn, is to get the word out about the collection, help introduce the library to the community and inspire people to contribute their own stories.

At the launch party, which is set to take place from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., there will be displays where people can look at the interviews on laptops and iPads. McMunn said Susan Lovell and the Topanga Canyon Band will provide entertainment to create a fun environment.

“During the party we’ll be thanking everyone involved for their participation in the project and we’ll have some of the people interviewed there so they can answer questions about the process of doing the interviews,” he said.

McMunn said he hopes the history collection will serve two purposes: help the library fulfill its purpose in preserving local history and help bond the library to the community.

“We’re very new so anytime we get to do a project like this and work with people throughout the Topanga area it helps build that relationship with the community,” he said. “Maybe it will kickoff other projects that we can do in the future.”

The project was funded by a Library Services and Technology Act grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services and administered in California by the State Librarian.

For more information on the event or to see part of the collection, visit


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