Illuminating Tacoma’s History in the Northwest Room with Anna Trammell


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In this episode of the Move to Tacoma podcast, Marguerite Martin interviews Local History Librarian Anna Trammell. Anne is a librarian at the Tacoma Public Library’s Northwest Room. The Northwest Room features archives of Tacoma’s local history, genealogy, and special collections, and this treasure trove of information is constantly evolving.

Marguerite and Anne dive into a wide range of topics in this interview, including:

– What Anna loves about living in Tacoma’s South End (she originally moved to Tacoma from Illinois just 3 years ago)

– The history of the physical location of the Northwest Room (it’s housed in the original Carnegie library that was built in 1903)

– What exactly you might expect to find in the Northwest Room (including its unique collections, meaning they have the only copy in the world. This might include rare books, maps, architectural drawings, etc.

– How they go above determining what to archive about present day history (this is not just about looking at the past—this is also about creating documentation about what is happening today so people 50 years from now can look back)

– How the Northwest Room determines what is included, and how they are partnering with communities to avoid gaps in coverage

– You can search for your address and see if there are any digitized images of your home, references to your property in newspapers, etc.

– What connections we can make between local current events and the past, including the similarities and differences between the COVID-19 pandemic and the 1917 flu pandemic.

– What the strangest thing Anna has ever found in the Northwest Room is

… and sooooo much more!

If you’ve ever looked at the Northwest Room’s online collections, you’ve only explored the tip of the iceberg! There is so much more to see in person, and Anna is happy to help you. You can reach out here:

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