An update from DPLA

By John Bracken, March 23, 2020.
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Dear Friends of DPLA, 

I wanted to give you an update on our work at the Digital Public Library of America during these uneasy and rapidly changing times. 

The DPLA was conceived of nine and a half years ago out of a notion that knowledge would increasingly be produced, shared and consumed digitally, and that it is vital that libraries, museums and civic institutions play a role in this transition. As such, we feel a special responsibility during this crisis to help advance the work of our partners and to serve the public. 

We have already begun the work of adapting to this moment. Of course, like so many others, we have been worried about our families and our world, and we have been adjusting to having children and spouses with us throughout the day. Second, we have been focused on the fiscal health of the organization which, thankfully, is strong and will enable us to be flexible as we move forward.

We are doing our best to anticipate new opportunities to fulfill our mission of making knowledge available to all. This week we are generating and prioritizing ideas that will guide our work for the coming months. Among the work we are exploring: 

  • Highlighting existing content, including our 6,500+ free ebook titles available via SimplyE and the archival collections containing more than 36 million items from our partner institutions. 
  • Identifying and creating books and collections that will address new and emerging needs.
  • Supporting our colleagues in the field as a convenor and connector, particularly those most impacted by the crisis and those suddenly separated from the collections, and systems, that are at the center of their work.

While adapting to the current moment, we will continue to be guided by the three core approaches laid out in the strategy we adopted last year: optimism about digital technology; a commitment to traditionally marginalized communities and their stories; and intentional collaboration with partners. 

We recently began a search for a part-time front-end developer; you can learn more about that position at (We may be sharing additional openings in the coming weeks and months as our work grows.)

Thank you for all you are doing to support educators, students, parents, caregivers, newly remote workers and each other as we adjust to this new, difficult and hopefully short-lived, reality. In the meantime, I hope that you can find some peace in this trying time. If there are ways that we at DPLA can be helpful to you and your colleagues, please let us know. 


P.S. The next DPLA board meeting is virtual and open to the public; it will take place on April 14th at 1:30ET. We will share the agenda and call-in information in advance on our board page.