October 24, 2013 -- Boston, MA. The Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) announced today that it has received a $990,195 grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to build upon its network of library professionals and organizations to pilot a national-scale training system for public librarians. Under the grant, the DPLA will collaborate with its service "hubs"—regional digital library partners located in states and regions in the United States—to build curricular resources and implement hands-on training programs that develop digital skills and capacity within the staffs of public libraries.
"From its inception, the Digital Public Library of America has partnered with libraries across America to help bring their riches to the country and the world," said Dan Cohen, DPLA's Executive Director. "With this generous grant from the Gates Foundation, we can extend this partnership to help local libraries and librarians take full advantage of what digital technology has to offer."
As part of the new program, current librarians and library volunteers around the country will work with the DPLA to acquire, use, and sustain new digital skills using DPLA's open materials and services, such as metadata creation, digitization, and virtual exhibition curation. Public librarians will receive the training required to produce digitized materials and curate these into virtual exhibitions.
The public libraries that participate in this pilot program will foster a greater understanding of local historical and cultural content, directing their communities to curated materials as well as a mass of relevant items in the DPLA and its associated collections. These libraries will have the opportunity to associate professional metadata with their collections, providing the ability to share their local heritage globally via the DPLA's portal and platform. The Digital Public Library of America sees this initiative as an important step in its nascent DPLA Local program, which aims to tailor DPLA's infrastructure for customized use in communities across the United States.
The funding is part of the Gates Foundation's Global Libraries program, which works to ensure that all people, especially those in disadvantaged communities around the world, have access to information through technology in public libraries.
"Public libraries are among the most beloved and trusted institutions in America," Cohen said. "It's a privilege to be able to assist them in their mission through this new program."
About the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA)
The Digital Public Library of America strives to contain the full breadth of human expression, from the written word, to works of art and culture, to records of America's heritage, to the efforts and data of science. Since launching in April 2013, it has aggregated over 5.0 million items from over 1,000 institutions. The DPLA is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit.