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.