Archiving in the Age of Corona

Guest Blogger  //  Jul 16, 2021

Archiving in the Age of Corona

by Chelsea Fritz, Library Assistant

Why is the Scholastic archive essential?   

Now that Scholastic has reached its 100th anniversary, we in the archive at Scholastic in New York City wanted to share how we have continued to preserve, digitize, and share items in our century old collection through a global pandemic. 

Let’s start out by understanding what our values as archivists are. The Society of American Archivists perfectly describes them:

  • “Identifying and preserving essential records that document the cultural heritage of society.

  • Organizing and maintaining the documentary record of institutions, groups, communities, and individuals.

  • Assisting in the process of interpreting documentation of past events through the use of primary source materials.

  • Serving a broad range of people who seek to locate and use the information found in evidentiary records.”


So how have we used these values to archive Scholastic history during the age of coronavirus?  It is all about adaptation. The Scholastic Archive, like many others, was forced to adapt to the coronavirus pandemic. With a hybrid schedule, our team has been able to pivot our workflows to support the company. What a year to adapt to!

Adapting from a time where 3 librarians could access the archive at a time, to only one on site per day, our superhero archivists have continued to brave the NYC subway system in order to support the company and the archive itself. We are behind the scenes, storing items, digitizing, cataloging, shelving for our users. 

With the 100th anniversary of Scholastic simultaneously happening during the pandemic, there was no shortage of projects for the archive to be highlighted.

Digitization has become one of the most important tools for archivists. With the world transitioning to a digital frontier, scanning projects have been at the forefront of our work. From scanning classroom magazines to historical photographs, picture books to novels, our digital collection continues to grow.

On the left you can see a view into the archive. Our trusty Zeuchal scanner can be seen draped in protective plastic to protect it from dust. We thank Tim Eklund for the many hours he has spent scanning items throughout the pandemic for our users.

The Society of American Archivists is an incredible organization that brings together professional archivists from around the country to collaborate, share resources, develop professional standards, mentor others, educate, and share access.

Here at Scholastic we are proud to have two members of this organization, myself and Tim Eklund. The Scholastic archive has a small yet effective staff eager to assist the company. Archive tours for Scholastic employees and use from patrons have come to a halt during the pandemic. We are all looking forward to once again sharing the archive with the Scholastic community, digitally and in person. In the meantime we continue to work and prepare for the future. 

As members of the Society of American Archivists, we are able to join the “Lone Arrangers'' section. Their mission statement is:

 “To provide education, stimulate communication, and encourage support between archivists working in “lone arranger” settings. The term "lone arranger" includes those working alone or in very small staff situations.” 

Our team at Scholastic may be small, but we are strong, capable, and will continue to care for 100 years of Scholastic history for years to come.

Here are some helpful links if anyone is interested in learning about what archivists do:

Remember to thank your local archivists and librarians.