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Ithaca, NY ( - Cornell University Library (CUL), in cooperation with the HBCU Library Alliance, is pleased to announce that it has received a grant for $375,000 from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The grant will support a two-year project aimed at promoting sustainability for the production of digital collections at dozens of historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) across the country.

The project, called "Building Collections, Building Services, and Building Sustainability III: A Sustainable Framework for the HBCU Library Alliance," will expand the number of HBCU digital collections for research and teaching; create a business plan for HBCU Library Alliance digital initiatives and programs; and host an online workshop devoted to digital services.

"Developing sustainable digital collections provides a public forum for knowledge that was virtually hidden from public view. By opening the doors to it, we're enabling a new dialogue on American history and the African-American experience," said Anne R. Kenney, Cornell's Carl A. Kroch University Librarian. "We are happy that The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has chosen to continue its support of our collaboration."

Cornell University, HBCU Library Alliance, and Robert W. Woodruff Library of the Atlanta University Center will provide administrative, staffing and logistical support for the 24-month initiative.

"This collaborative project supports the goals of the HBCU Library Alliance, because it strengthens the way in which our libraries support the academic programs of the historically black colleges and universities," said Loretta Parham, chair of the HBCU Library Alliance.

Since 2005, CUL has partnered with the Alliance, a coalition of HBCU library deans and directors working to strengthen the role of libraries on historically black campuses and expand access to their resources. During the first two phases of the project, Cornell University Library trained 23 HBCU library staff in building digital collections. The result of that training is a searchable group of more than 7,000 digital images from the archives of 20 HBCUs.

"We're moving into a critical third phase of our collaboration, which aims to ensure the sustainability of HBCU digital initiatives for many years to come," said Ira Revels, associate librarian at Cornell and project manager.

The HBCU digital collection "A Digital Collection Celebrating the Founding of the Historically Black College and University" fosters research and teaching of scholars specializing in African-American Studies, the American South, American Democracy, cultural pluralism and other related disciplines.

"This opportunity to sustain our rich collection of historic images enables libraries of the HBCU Library Alliance to preserve the imprint that historically black colleges and universities have made on American society," said Janice Franklin, chair of the Alliance's Committee on Digitization.

To learn more about the program, visit

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 Cornell University. The Library offers cutting-edge programs and a full spectrum of services, rare books and manuscripts and a growing network of digital resources. The Library's outstanding collections -- from medieval manuscripts to hip hop and from ancient Chinese texts to comic books -- preserve the past and pave the way for future scholarship. To learn more about Cornell University Library, visit

About the HBCU Library Alliance
The HBCU Library Alliance is a consortium that promotes collaboration of information professionals and excellence in library leadership and services to enhance member resources and programs. To learn more about the HBCU Library Alliance, visit

For more news about the Cornell University Library, go to


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