Annual Pikes Peak Regional History Symposia
Problem StatementThe record of our community’s history was at risk of stagnation due to diminishing new published local history resources, limited accessibility to unpublished resources, and inadequate incentives to encourage new historical research. Uncoordinated local history organizations appealed to small groups with periodic presentations and newsletters however, the larger regional community, with many new and short-time residents, was seldom engaged.
An annual free public program focused on one history topic united disparate groups to craft a regional history symposium to appeal to a general audience. A national call for papers is issued and the day-long event occurs during early June. The event features professional and avocational historians presenting their unique research on the year’s topic.
Each Pikes Peak Regional History Symposium is a free, day-long event, with twelve presenters, and a Chautauqua performance. A light lunch and late-day book signing reception provide an opportunity for conversation.
The Pikes Peak Library District is fortunate to have a television studio and a cable TV channel. The symposia are broadcast live, as well as edited for rebroadcast and DVD availability. The audio of the symposia is available for download from the library’s eBranch and can be played on computer or portable device, and burned to CD.
The presented papers are edited by volunteers and the library’s Special Collections staff to publish an illustrated and indexed book. Previously published out-of-print books about the selected history topic are republished during the symposium year. Books are published in print and electronic form, for library circulation and purchase. A PlayAway audio book is in production for one reprinted title. Book release events draw large crowds to buy books and see a short performance featuring a character important to the region’s history, and the topic of the new book. These events are video recorded to provide additional cable channel programming.