The 2015 American Library Association annual conference is off to a great start for the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA). On June 26, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and John S. and James L. Knight Foundations announced $3.4 million in new investments that will help connect online collections from coast to coast by 2017.
DPLA officials say the two new awards (coupled with significant earlier support from the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the National Endowment for the Humanities) will help to establish the growth of DPLA’s service hubs, which are essentially regional library collaborations that host, aggregate or otherwise bring together digital objects from libraries, archives, museums and other cultural institutions. The Sloan Foundation’s $1.9 million award will establish service hubs in eight uncovered states, as well as allowing DPLA to further explore how it might address e-books in the collection. The Knight Foundation’s $1.5 million award will facilitate the expansion of the DPLA’s hub network in another eight states.
Launched in 2013, the Digital Public Library of America aims to bring together collections fro libraries, archives and museums, and make them freely available to the world online. DPLA currently provides public access to more than 10 million items from 1,600 institutions. At its inception two years ago, DPLA represented a collaborative of 16 major partners, covering nine states. That number has since doubled to more than 20 states, and is on the way to 50 in the next two years.
“The Sloan and Knight foundations have been such generous contributors to DPLA’s success, from our planning phase to the rapid build-out of our national network,” said Dan Cohen, executive director of DPLA. “With these twin grants, we will be able to bring online 16 new states, and approach completion of that network.”