How do you start a topotheque?

Requirements

The first and foremost trait a topothequer should bring along, is to enjoy the work of making historic knowledge and material publicly accessible. Furthermore, one should enjoy searching for sources, be sociable with the population and be the contact person for local topotheque-related issues.

Initial starting phase

After the technical implementation of the topotheque and a quick introduction (printed or online handbook), the topotheque managers can already start with implementing material. It is easiest to start with entries which can be taken from already existing archives. For a smaller town already 50 entries may suffice to give a first impression of their future topotheque. During the first phase of implementing of material, the topotheque will remain hidden from visitors. The moment of making the topotheque visible and accessible to the public is up to the respective topothequer – we will “activate” the topotheque whenever requested.

Development phase

It is easy to mobilise new material: word of mouth, requests from local newspapers and/or club magazines will surely awake interest of new providers. Experience shows that also regional media likes to adopt reports from the topotheque. This may be the case within, for instance, the framework of a small press conference of opening event. A topotheque is supposed to be a continuously growing archive documenting the events and changes of a town and/or community.