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Library of Congress Awards More than $200,000 to Five Projects Highlighting Uses of Digital Collections

Release Date: 11 May 2023
Connecting Communities Digital Initiative

Library of Congress Awards More than $200,000 to Five Projects Highlighting Uses of Digital Collections
Connecting Communities Digital Initiative Announces Awards for Higher Education, Libraries, Archives and Museums

The Library of Congress today announced that five awards, totaling more than $200,000, have been awarded from the Connecting Communities Digital Initiative through a program available to Libraries, Archives, Museums and Higher Education institutions. The 2023 awardees will use these funds to create projects that offer creative approaches to the Library’s digital collections and center Black, Indigenous, and Latino or Hispanic studies.

“We’re excited to provide financial and technical support to these five institutions and organizations, which will give them the time and space to play, experiment and imagine with the Library’s digital collections and complete projects that are significant and meaningful to them and the people with whom they interact,” said Marya McQuirter, the program director.

Higher Education Recipients

Houston Community College System ($47,523.02)
PROJECT: The Prisoner Experience in the South, 1866-1940
LOCATION: Houston, Texas

DESCRIPTION: The Houston Community College System, through their project, The Prisoner’s Experience in the South, 1866-1940, will explore the connections between enslavement, convict labor and leasing, and contemporary mass incarceration. Grounded in the 2018 uncovering of Sugar Land 95, a convict labor camp and grave site in a Houston suburb, faculty and students, with support from Houston residents, will produce a website and exhibition, featuring research papers, podcasts and short films made by students in a range of courses. They will also collaboratively produce a Story Map. From the Library’s digital collections, they will remix and reuse photographs, audio recordings, and government documents, along with materials from Houston libraries and archives. This work also directly links to the College’s African American Studies course.

The University of New Mexico (UNM) ($49,977.85)
PROJECT: “Remember the South Broadway—Albuquerque, New Mexico’s Oldest African American Community”

LOCATION: Albuquerque, New Mexico
DESCRIPTION: The University of New Mexico’s project, Remember the South Broadway — Albuquerque, New Mexico's Oldest African American Community, will produce a substantial digital zine to document and amplify Albuquerque’s earliest African American neighborhood. Natasha Howard, a university faculty member, will combine an extensive oral history collection and local and community archives (created by South Broadway residents) with a range of Library digital materials (maps, photographs and rare books) to create the digital zine, which will be used for university courses, K-12 classes and shared with the larger public in New Mexico. It will also serve as a replicable model for other educators throughout the U.S. and beyond interested in the power and creativity of digital zines to enliven history.

Libraries, Archives and Museums Recipient
Boone County Public Library (BCPL) ($12,000)
PROJECT: African Americans of the Kentucky Borderlands: Utilizing Library of Congress Collections
LOCATION: Burlington, Kentucky

DESCRIPTION: Boone County Public Library, in Burlington, Kentucky, through its Borderlands Archive and History Center, will reuse the Library’s digital collections on enslavement and freedom-seeking in Kentucky to expand its African Americans of the Kentucky Borderlands database. Part of their African Americans of Boone County Initiative, library staff, including a digital intern, will identify relevant materials in the Library’s digital collections, create metadata and upload that data to a new landing page on the African Americans in Kentucky database, making this information easily available to students, educators and researchers. Boone County Public Library will also produce a virtual exhibit.

Guild Hall of East Hampton ($50,000)
PROJECT: Guild Hall Community Artist-in-Residence, First Literature Project
LOCATION: East Hampton, New York

DESCRIPTION: How can the Shinnecock language, which has not been spoken for 100 years, be resurrected? Guild Hall, based in East Hampton, New York, in collaboration with its Community Artists-in-Residence, Wunetu Wequai Tarrant and Christian Scheider, and the nonprofit organization, The Padoquohan Medicine Lodge, proposes to do so by supporting the efforts of the First Literature Project. Co-founded by Tarrant and Scheider, the First Literature Project aims to support the preservation of Indigenous stories, culture and language by utilizing immersive 3D, virtual reality and holographic technology to create two immersive orations to be exhibited at Guild Hall in spring 2024. Additionally, another component of this project will include a compilation of all materials utilized to help with Shinnecock language research to create a centralized database that will help with future research, as well as a video archive for the Padoquohan Medicine Lodge to document the interviews with Shinnecock Tribal members. Guild Hall has received funding from the Library of Congress to support the formation and work of Ayím Kutoowonk (She Speaks), a community-based language revitalization group. Under the leadership of Tarrant, Ayím Kutoowonk, a group of four Indigenous, Shinnecock women, will assist with Shinnecock language research by utilizing historical texts, including the Library’s collection of digitized books from the 17th through the 20th centuries.

Historical Society of Pennsylvania ($44,250.36)
PROJECT: Resurrecting Voices: The Philadelphia Black Experience
LOCATION: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

DESCRIPTION: The Historical Society of Pennsylvania will venture into a new digital platform, the podcast, by planning and piloting an oral history podcast, Resurrecting Voices: The Philadelphia Black Experience that will explore Black history in Philadelphia in the 19th and 20th centuries. In its pilot, the podcast will air five episodes in the fall 2023 and into spring 2024. For the historical society, podcasting is a digital oral history platform that extends their long oral history work. The historical society will combine new interviews of Philadelphians and its centuries-old collections in African American History with the Library’s digital exhibitions, photographs, Sanborn maps and Chronicling America newspaper database to produce five content-rich podcasts.

To receive updates on these projects as well as the overall initiative, subscribe to the Of the People: Widening the Path blog.

About Of the People: Widening the Path
Launched in January 2021, Of the People: Widening the Path is a multiyear initiative to connect the Library more deeply with Black, Indigenous, and other communities of color historically underrepresented in the Library’s collections. Supported through a gift from the Mellon Foundation, it provides new opportunities for more Americans to engage with the Library and add their perspectives to the Library’s collections. This work will expand the Library’s efforts to ensure that a diversity of experiences is reflected in our historical record and inform how we use those materials to understand our past.

About the Library
The Library of Congress is the world’s largest library, offering access to the creative record of the United States — and extensive materials from around the world — both on-site and online. It is the main research arm of the U.S. Congress and the home of the U.S. Copyright Office. Explore collections, reference services and other programs and plan a visit at, access the official site for U.S. federal legislative information at and register creative works of authorship at


Press Contact: Deanna McCray-James, 202-707-9322,
Public Contact: Marya McQuirter,

PR 23-028
ISSN 0731-3527

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