April 29, 2014

Library receives grant to enhance Columbus African-American digital collection

COLUMBUS—Columbus Metropolitan Library (CML) has been awarded a $16,320 grant from the Ohio Humanities Council (OHC). The grant will fund a one-year project to develop additional tools for CML’s Columbus African American Collection, such as an introductory video created in partnership with WOSU, browsing capabilities, a neighborhood map and other features designed to enhance the archive for CML’s online users. As part of the project, CML is partnering with the Ohio Historical Society to add 3,000 new images to the collection.

The collection has more than 20,000 digitized photographs, letters, newspaper clippings and other items that provide snapshots into the 200-year history of Columbus’ African-American community.

“Our vision of a thriving community where wisdom prevails is rooted in the idea that knowing our history is crucial for building strong communities,” said Columbus Metropolitan Library CEO Patrick Losinski. “This funding will ensure that our Columbus African American Collection will be a readily accessible resource for our customers now and in generations to come.”

An advisory group of humanities professionals and community leaders will guide the project, including:

  • Hasan Kwame Jeffries, Ph.D., Associate Professor of African-American and American historyat The Ohio State University
  • Dr. Julialynne Walker, CEO of Africa and Diaspora Development Linkages
  • Tom Dillard, Vice President of Human Services for Goodwill and Director of Empowerment Services for IMPACT Community Action
  • Christina Butler, Ph.D., Director of the Martin De Porres Center
  • Arnett Howard, musician and community advocate

Click here to explore CML’s already-expansive Columbus African American Collection.

The Ohio Humanities Council, established in 1972, is a 501(c)(3) organization funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities and private contributions. Ohio Humanities aims “to increase Ohioans’ appreciation and understanding of the humanities” through the Council’s grant-making capacity and through programs developed by the Council itself. Based in Columbus but operating statewide, the Council promotes the humanities in Ohio through collaborations with cultural and educational institutions. For more information, visit ohiohumanities.org.

Columbus Metropolitan Library has served the people of Franklin County, Ohio since 1873. With its Main Library and 22 branches, CML is well known for signature services and programs like Homework Help Centers, Reading Buddies, Summer Reading Club and Ready for Kindergarten. The library’s Strategic Plan supports the vision of “a thriving community where wisdom prevails,” which positions CML to respond to areas of urgent need: kids unprepared for kindergarten, third grade reading proficiency, high school graduation, college readiness and employment resources.

CML was named a 2011 National Medal Winner by the Institute for Museum and Library Services for work in community service, the highest honor for libraries and museums. Columbus Metropolitan Library has been rated a 5-Star Library by Library Journal for seven of the eight years the magazine has published its industry ratings.