Funding for the Future: Preserving the Past

June 15, 2009 § Leave a comment

Speakers from 3 major funding agencies spoke about funding opportunities for libraries and library-related organizations. Inside scoop on getting cash for library digitization projects?  Not so much, but some interesting insight from people critical to the money-getting process.

The gist: more funding opportunities than you might think, but they are all quite competitive and the requirements are changing, becoming more comprehensive and up-to-date, esp in response to technology.  Generally, all 3 speakers emphasized the dissemination and sustainability (financial, technological, staffing) of projects, esp the importance of the viability of continued activity beyond the grant.

A bit more detail…

1. First up, Rachel Frick from the Institute of Museum & Library Service (IMLS) talked about various grant opportunities.   Mentioned Gregory Crane’s work from Tufts University: What do/can you do with a million books?  [some grant awards will be announced at the “Buffalo Summit” tomorrow, wazzat?]

2. Second speaker Elizabeth Joffrion from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). “Humanities” grants not necessarily discipline specific, but suggest new ways of thinking about digital humanities in general: innovative impacts of technologies, data dissemination, managing large data sets, etc.

To give a sense of competition, I think she said that for one type of grant NEH offers, there were ~500 applications for 8 grants.  She announced the “Sustaining Cultural Heritage Collections” grants: (details to come, deadline likely December this year).

Example projects: Northwest Digital Archives, Trans-Atlantic Slave Database, Atlas of Historical County Boundaries.

3. Kathleen Williams from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission: smaller,  more-focused, unique and least known of the 3 funding agencies. Example projects: Papers of Aldo Leopold from the University of Wisconsin and the Archives of Michigan’s Civil War Service Records project.

I see at least two other bloggers in the room, Jill Hurst-Wahl and the Filipino Librarian, who has already posted on the SLA Blog (thanks, Twitter).  Done in fifteen minutes…

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