DPLA Celebrates Continued Growth and Plans for the Future at DPLAfest 2017

By DPLA, April 20, 2017.
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Chicago, IL— DPLAfest 2017, the fourth annual event bringing together members of the broad DPLA community, officially kicked off Thursday morning at Chicago Public Library’s Harold Washington Library Center. In addition to Chicago Public Library, DPLAfest 2017 is co-hosted by the Black Metropolis Research Consortium, Chicago Collections, and the Reaching Across Illinois Library System (RAILS). Over the next two days, over 350 participants, representing diverse fields including libraries, archives, museums, technology, education, and more, will come together to learn, converse, and collaborate in a broad range of sessions, workshops, and working sessions. At this morning’s opening plenary, DPLAfest-goers received a warm welcome to the city of Chicago from Chicago Public Library Commissioner and CEO Brian Bannon as well as greetings from Amy Ryan, Chair of DPLA’s Board of Directors, and a report on DPLA’s recent milestones and new initiatives from DPLA Executive Director Dan Cohen.

Following the welcoming remarks, panelists Luis Herrera, City Librarian of San Francisco, Nell Taylor, Executive Director of the Read/Write Library, and Jennifer Brier, Associate Professor of History and Gender and Women’s Studies at the University of Illinois Chicago, discussed community archives, the future of open access to library, archive, and museum collections, and intersections between local community practice and DPLA’s national network in a panel entitled, “Telling Stories of Who We Are,” moderated by DPLA Board Member Sarah Burnes.

Selected announcements from the DPLAfest opening plenary include:

Continued growth of the DPLA network

DPLA celebrated the continued expansion of its partner network over the past year with the addition of new collections from Service Hubs in Wisconsin, Illinois, and Michigan as well as newly accepted applications from Service Hubs representing Ohio, Florida, Montana, Colorado and Wyoming, and the District of Columbia. In addition to its growing list of Service Hubs, DPLA was proud to officially welcome the Library of Congress as a contributing Content Hub in November 2016. With these new collections and others from established partners, DPLA now makes over 16 million items from 2,350 libraries, archives, and museums freely discoverable for all. With the growth of the collections, use of the site has grown dramatically, with new analytics implemented this year showing the important role of both search and curated projects like the Exhibitions and Primary Source Sets in ensuring discovery of and engagement with partner collections.

Implementing Rights Statements

Launched one year ago at DPLAfest 2016, RightsStatements.org has been well received by cultural heritage professionals within the DPLA network and around the world. Partners across the DPLA network have begun working towards implementation of the new statements, which will be the subject of the Turn the Rights On session Thursday at 3:30pm CT. RightsStatements.org partners DPLA and Europeana also look forward to welcoming new international partners to the project over the coming months. Digital libraries in Brazil, Australia, New Zealand, and India will be joining the project, with interest from additional libraries on every continent.

Reading the Ebooks Landscape

DPLA celebrated continued success and new initiatives towards its mission of maximizing access to ebooks. Open eBooks, a collaboration between DPLA, The New York Public Library, FirstBook, and Clever, with support from Baker and Taylor, marked its first full year in February  2017, during which children across the country read over 1.5 million ebooks using the app. In addition to Open eBooks, DPLA announced a $1.5 million grant from the Sloan Foundation in January to support the development of DPLA’s mobile-friendly open collection of ebooks and exploration into new ways of facilitating discovery of free, open content; unlocking previously gated content through new licensing and/or access models; and facilitating better purchasing options for libraries.

Expanding our Education Work

Since 2015, DPLA has collaborated with an Education Advisory Committee of ten teachers in grades 6-12 and higher education to design and curate 100 Primary Source Sets about topics in history, literature, and culture using DPLA partner content. These educators come from a variety of geographic and institutional settings including public K-12 schools, community colleges, school district administration, and research universities.

In 2017-2018, DPLA will continue to work with these ten teachers and add six more members from higher education with funding from the Teagle Foundation. With this team, DPLA will continue to develop primary source sets and build and pilot a curriculum for professional development. Professional development workshops with educators in diverse institutional settings will help instructors form next steps for implementing DPLA and the Primary Source Sets into their teaching practices and course syllabi.

Announcing our Values Statement

In today’s society, where fake news abounds, funding for arts and humanities programs is at risk, inequality is expanding, and our nation continues to wrestle with questions of belonging and inclusion for many people, we at DPLA believe it is more important than ever to be clear about who we are and what we value as an organization. As such, we are proud to unveil DPLA’s new Values Statement, which outlines the following core commitments of our organization and our staff:

  • A Commitment to our Mission
  • A Commitment to Constructive Collaboration
  • A Commitment to Diversity, Inclusion, and Social Justice
  • A Commitment to the Public and our Community
  • A Commitment to Stewardship of Resources

The ideas captured in the Values Statement emerged from discussions among our entire staff, with input from our board, about the mission of our institution, the ways we approach our work, and why we as professionals and individuals are committed to the essential goals of DPLA. For each tenet of the statement, we have outlined the core principle to which we aspire as well as specific ways that each value drives our everyday practice. We intend for this document to be a dynamic guide for our practice going forward and a reference against which we can track our progress as we continually strive to embody these values throughout the institution.

Volunteer Opportunity: Join the DPLA Community Reps

DPLA is currently accepting applications for the next class of Community Reps, a grassroots network of enthusiastic volunteers who help connect DPLA with members of their local communities through outreach activities. DPLA staff have worked with hundreds of terrific reps from diverse places and professions so far and look forward to welcoming a new cohort this spring. The application will remain open until Monday, April 24, 2017.

Welcome to DPLAfest Awardees

Cohen introduced and welcomed the five talented and diverse members of the extended DPLA community who are attending DPLAfest 2017 as recipients of the inaugural DPLA travel awards. After receiving a tremendous response to the call from many excellent candidates, DPLA was pleased to award travel support to Tommy Bui of Los Angeles Public Library, Amanda H. Davis of Charlotte Mecklenberg Library, Raquel Flores-Clemons of Chicago State University, Valerie Hawkins of Prairie State College, and Nicole Umayam of Arizona State Library.

Thanks to our Hosts and Sponsors

DPLA would like to acknowledge and thank the gracious DPLAfest 2017 host organizations, Chicago Public Library, Black Metropolis Research Consortium, Chicago Collections, and Reaching Across the Illinois Library System (RAILS) as well as the generous sponsors of DPLAfest 2017, Datalogics, OCLC, Lyrasis, Sony, and an anonymous donor.

DPLA invites all participants and those interested in joining the conversation from afar to follow and contribute to the conversation on Twitter using #DPLAfest.

For additional information or media requests, please contact Arielle Perry, DPLA Program Assistant at info@dp.la.