DPLA receives $1.5 million grant from Alfred P. Sloan Foundation

By DPLA, January 15, 2019.

The Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) is pleased to announce that the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation has awarded DPLA a $1.5 million grant. The grant will enable DPLA to expand its efforts to provide an improved ebook experience for patrons through their libraries, building on its cultural heritage aggregation program.

Over the course of this three-year grant, DPLA will expand the DPLA Exchange, an open platform and marketplace, from pilot phase to production. DPLA will continue to work with its core partners The New York Public Library and LYRASIS to further the adoption of SimplyE, with the goal of offering libraries a full-service pathway to acquire and deliver e-content through a library-driven marketplace and platforms.

Building on our foundation

From its inception, DPLA has been driven by the belief that, as the world’s knowledge becomes increasingly digital, it is imperative that libraries play a role in ensuring that future platforms, and the policies that will guide their use, incorporate and reflect library values. The Sloan Foundation has supported that mission since DPLA’s founding. Our hallmark initiative continues to be the creation of a national network of libraries, archives, and museums, now encompassing over 3,000 institutions in thirty-seven states. Through this network, DPLA makes over 33 million items freely discoverable for all through a one-stop research experience, transforming the landscape of cultural heritage access and discovery.

DPLA applies the same guiding principles and core belief in the civic value of libraries and free, open access to information to its work in the ebooks space. Open Bookshelf makes thousands of public domain and openly-licensed ebooks freely available to download, read, and keep. The DPLA Exchange was developed to offer libraries a non-profit marketplace to purchase and share e-content at better prices, and on better terms, than previously available. DPLA built these products and services with support from the Sloan Foundation and will now be able to expand them to reach more institutions, and benefit more readers. Together with cultural heritage aggregation, DPLA’s efforts to improve e-content delivery and spark innovation in the ebooks landscape help DPLA deliver on its mission, and benefit all.

Collaboration is key

Active, strategic, participatory collaboration is at the core of all of DPLA’s work. Just as DPLA’s cultural heritage aggregation initiatives are powered by a network of partners, DPLA’s ebooks initiatives are shaped and supported by partner libraries and organizations, including The New York Public Library (NYPL) and LYRASIS. The SimplyE app, developed by our partners at NYPL, is an essential element of the DPLA Exchange marketplace and content delivery system. LYRASIS, Califa, and Amigos Library Services provide hosting services that help libraries get up and running quickly and get the technical support they need to be able to deliver content to patrons smoothly. DPLA Exchange pilot libraries Alameda County Library (CA); Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh (PA); Connecticut State Library (CT); Califa Library Group (CA, KS); St. Mary’s County Library (MD) and Yavapai Library Network (AZ) have tested, used, and provided valuable feedback on these services to ensure they are ready for broader adoption and implementation at libraries of all types and sizes.