$450,000 grant awarded to Cornell University Library: Partnership between Cornell Library and the HBCU Library Alliance documents the founding of nation's black colleges and universities


Contact: Ira Revels
Phone:  (607) 255-1569

$450,000 grant awarded to Cornell University Library
Partnership between Cornell Library  and the HBCU Library Alliance documents the founding of nation’s black colleges and universities

ITHACA, N.Y.—A digital collection that chronicles the founding of America’s black colleges and universities will  continue to expand, thanks a $450,000 grant Cornell University Library recently  received from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Cornell Library is  sharing its expertise in digital imaging, preservation and management with  librarians and archivists from the Historically Black Colleges and Universities  (HBCU) Library Alliance in an initiative that is laying the foundation for a  HBCU digital library.  Important  materials from the founding collections of 10 HBCU institutions are now  available online in a digital collection entitled, “Celebrating the Founding of  the Historically Black College and University.” Some of its highlights include  student yearbooks, early campus architectural drawings, and a rich assortment  of photographs featuring choral groups, student sports teams, famous alumni, and  churches (which often served as the first classrooms at several of these  institutions).

The online collection is the result of a partnership that began in 2005 between  Cornell University Library and the HBCU Library Alliance with the support of The  Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.  To date,  Cornell librarians have trained staff members from HBCU institutions to use flat-bed  scanners, high-end multimedia computers, and digital imaging software as well  as storage, collection management, and access systems.

“Cornell University  Library has a rich tradition of sharing what it has learned with others through  publications and workshops,” said Interim University Librarian Anne R.  Kenney.  “Anything that we can do to make  available the special collections of HBCU libraries will benefit researchers  and students everywhere.”

In the partnership’s next phase, library staff from ten additional HBCU  institutions will be trained in digital collection building so materials from  their founding collections can become part of the online repository.  They include Lincoln University-Missouri,  Miles College, Morehouse School of Medicine, North Carolina Central University,  Paine College, Southern University at Shreveport, South Carolina State  University, St. Augustine’s College, Texas Southern University and the University  of the District of Columbia.  The grant  will also allow the first ten participating HBCU institutions to continue their  digitization efforts and provide funding to train selected HBCU librarians in  digital video and audio techniques.

“The HBCU Library Alliance is indeed  grateful for the opportunity to partner with Cornell  University and The Andrew W. Mellon  Foundation to train HBCU librarians in digital resource preparation and  management,” said Janice Franklin, dean of Alabama State University Libraries  and co-founder of the HBCU Library Alliance. “Access to artifacts in the  special collections and archives of HBCU libraries, as assisted by this  training initiative, will promote teaching and learning opportunities for the  study of African-American history and culture and will also highlight the  contributions that HBCU institutions have made to American history and  culture.”

For more information about the partnership and the HBCU Library Alliance  digital library initiative, visit <hbculibraries.org/html/programs.html>.

About HBCU Library Alliance
The HBCU Library Alliance  is a consortium that supports the collaboration of institutions dedicated to  providing resources designed to strengthen the libraries of Historically Black  Colleges and Universities and their constituents.  The purpose of the HBCU Alliance is to ensure  the excellence in HBCU Libraries and the development, coordination and  promotion of programs and activities to enhance member libraries.

About Cornell University Library
One of the leading  academic research libraries in the United States, Cornell University Library is a highly  valued partner in teaching, research, and learning at the university, offering  cutting edge services and a full spectrum of library resources, from rare books  and manuscripts to a rapidly expanding network of digital resources. Through  such initiatives as the life sciences portal, the installation of a pioneering  high-end mobile and flexible computer laboratory designed specifically for  collaborative use, and innovative scholarly publishing support, the Library is  an integral component of the many educational programs and research projects  under way at Cornell.  To learn more about Cornell University Library,  visit www.library.cornell.edu.