Grants and Acquisitions

Ann-Christe Galloway

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Wayne State University’s Walter P. Reuther Library of Labor and Urban Affairs, has been awarded a grant totaling $109,152 from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) to facilitate the discovery and promotion of 1,660 oral histories of individuals directly involved in the labor, civil rights, and social justice movements, among other important historical developments. By employing updated access methods, the NHPRC grant project will allow Reuther archivists to work on descriptions that will make the oral histories easier to discover by researchers. Donated to the Reuther or conducted by staff members over the last 40 years, these stories bring a deeper understanding of the lives and work of such prominent national figures as Grace Lee Boggs and Cesar Chavez and organizations like the NAACP and the United Automobile Workers. The oral histories also give voice to the unknown rank-and-file workers, immigrants, pioneering professional women, and minority urban dwellers, providing new perspectives on the American experience.

The University of New Hampshire (UNH) Library and its partner, the UNH Earth Systems Research Center, received a $474,156 three-year grant from the Institute for Museum and Library Services, National Leadership Grants for Libraries Program to build PLACE (Position-based Location Archive Coordinate Explorer). PLACE will be a geospatial search interface that uses embedded geospatial coordinates and international geospatial metadata standards to provide an alternative means for discovery of geospatial and geographic information in the UNH collections. The project contributes to two open source communities: the Open Geoportal (OGP) and the FEDORA Commons communities. The PLACE project work group will build new tools not currently available in OGP, such as a new geospatial gazetteer tool for improved searching and new time series capabilities to easily assess changes over time. A significant part of the project will be developing code that enables OGP to interoperate with FEDORA. The resulting open source tools will provide a mechanism to make geospatial and geographic collections in other FEDORA libraries searchable in OGP for the first time. All PLACE open source code will be contributed to OGP and Fedora communities. The PLACE Project represents the next step in the UNH Library’s long-standing goal of delivering maps, atlases, air photos, and guidebooks online, while providing an opportunity to collaborate with new partners and contribute the resulting work to the library community. The PLACE search interface will be available to the general public through the UNH library website.

The University of Illinois at Chicago Library (UIC), in connection with the Chicago Collections Consortium (CCC), has received a $194,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support the development and implementation of the Chicago Portal. The grant was awarded to the University of Illinois Board of Trustees on behalf of the library, which is leading the project with CCC. The 15-month grant will fund the development of CCC’s major first initiative, a freely accessible, online portal to materials documenting the rich history of Chicago. The portal paves the way for CCC to fulfill its vision of connecting and preserving Chicago-focused collections, and increasing public and scholarly interest in and study of the Chicago region’s diverse history and culture.

The University of North Carolina (UNC)-Chapel Hill’s Latino oral history initiative has been awarded $240,000 from the National Endowment for the Humanities. “New Roots: Improving Global Access of Latino Oral Histories” is a collaborative initiative of the Latino Migration Project, the Southern Oral History Program, and the University Libraries. The initiative was established in 2007 to document demographic transformations in the U.S. South by collecting stories of migration, settlement, and integration in North Carolina. The collection receives regular contributions of at least 40 interviews annually from UNC scholars through an ongoing research program of the Latino Migration Project at the Institute for the Study of the Americas and the Center for Global Initiatives. For more information, please see http://tinyurl.com/q9ejrjg.

The University at Albany has received a $2.2 million gift from the late Alice Hastings Murphy estate to benefit its libraries. Hastings Murphy was with the university during its transformation from the College for Teachers to the State University of New York at Albany, and was the first person to hold the title of director of university libraries. During her tenure, she played an integral role in the massive growth of the library in the 1960s. She retired in 1970 as head librarian at the university but remained involved with UAlbany’s Friends of the Libraries, of which she was a founding member. She passed away in 2011 at the age of 94. To honor her parents’ memory and their many years of service to the University, Murphy established the Harry and Louise Clement Hastings Fund to support the purchase of literary materials and the preservation of library collections. The university will name the library’s Preservation Laboratory in honor of Hastings Murphy’s gift at a fall 2014 event.

LYRASIS has been awarded a grant of $265,000 from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to provide preservation programming for organizations in its membership region that hold and provide access to humanities collections and resources. The two-year project began in July and will provide education, training, consulting, and information resources to raise awareness of preservation issues and improve preservation planning and practices across the full spectrum of humanities collections held by libraries and other cultural heritage organizations. This grant award marks the 30-year anniversary of the LYRASIS (formerly SOLINET) preservation field services program, which began in January 1985 and has run continuously since its inception. The program focuses on preservation within the context of small and mid-size libraries, archives, historical societies, and museums. These institutions hold extensive and valuable collections acquired over many years to support education, research, and public programming in the humanities. Their collections document the history and culture of communities, states, and nations, providing insight into the evolution of society and government; arts, music, and literature; and the lives of individuals and organizations. Future and sometimes current access to these resources is at risk due to age, use, inherent instability of media (such as magnetic tapes and acidic paper), storage in poor environments, technology obsolescence, disasters, and lack of planning and funding to support long-term access. The LYRASIS preservation field services program will offer support, including training, to librarians, archivists, curators, and other staff members to enable them to successfully ensure the preservation of, and access to, the content in humanities collections.

Acquisitions

Columbia University Libraries/Information Services’ Rare Book & Manuscript Library has acquired the archive of Hanging Loose Press, one of the oldest continuously operating independent literary publishers in the United States. Since 1966, Hanging Loose Press has published poetry, books, and Hanging Loose Magazine, which grew out of the short-lived literary journal Things, published in the early 1960s by two Columbia students, Emmet Jarrett and Ron Schreiber. The magazine took its name from the format of its earliest issues: loose sheets of paper in a 6×9-inch envelope. The press began publishing books in 1972, and has since produced more than 200 titles. Still in operation today, the press is run by a collective of editors in Boston and Brooklyn, including Robert Hershon and Dick Lourie, who have been involved since the first issue. The editors review all submitted unsolicited manuscripts, which has resulted in the publication of many first books. Among many notable authors, Sherman Alexie and Ha Jin have been published by the press. The press is also known to publish writers from under-represented groups, including high school students and incarcerated poets. The archive includes production files for each book and issue of the journal, notes from editorial meetings, and detailed records of the organization’s acquisition process. Many of the records are paper and ink, even those produced in the 21st century, an unusual practice for modern literary presses.

Author Pat Conroy’s complete literary archive has been acquired by the University of South Carolina Library’s Irvin Department of Rare Books and Special Collections. Covering everything from his earliest high school literary efforts through his most recent books, the collection is a complete documentary record. Conroy, a graduate of the Citadel in Charleston, took a poetry class at the University of South Carolina in the early 1970s with author-in-residence James Dickey. “I thought he was the greatest poet that ever lived,” Conroy says. “He changed my life.” That notebook, along with the manuscripts and drafts of Conroy’s 11 books, his personal journals and diaries, screenwriting work, correspondence, and family photo albums and scrapbooks, are now housed in the Ernest F. Hollings Special Collections Library and will be open to research next year. “My papers belong here. I wanted them here, I am happy they’re here, I am proud that they’re here,” Conroy says. “And I will try to add to them for the rest of my writing life.”

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