Library Part of DPLA Service Hub

News release excerpts courtesy of :

Secretary of State and State Librarian Jesse White announced that the Illinois State Library has been selected as a Service Hub for the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA). As a Service Hub, the State Library will gather digital collections from around the state for contribution to DPLA. DPLA is a single free virtual library comprised of digitized collections created by libraries, archives and museums across the nation.

The Service Hub responsibilities will be shared by the State Library, the Chicago Public Library, the Consortium of Academic and Research Libraries of Illinois (CARLI) and the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign.

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IMLS Grant for Library and GSLIS

Green Sandore Downie

The Institute of Museum and Library Services has awarded $398,844 to the University of Illinois Library and the Graduate School of Library and Information Science through its Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program. Harriett Green, English and Digital Humanities Librarian at the University Library, is the principal investigator on the project, “Digging Deeper, Reaching Further: Libraries Empowering Users to Mine the HathiTrust Digital Library Resources.”

J. Stephen Downie, GSLIS professor and associate dean for research and co-director of the HathiTrust Research Center (HTRC), and Beth Sandore Namachchivaya, associate university librarian for research, are co-PIs on the project.

According to the abstract, the project will “develop a shared curriculum for use in academic libraries [as well as] a train-the-trainer series designed to assist librarians in getting started with the tools, services, and related research methodologies of the HathiTrust Research Center (HTRC).”

“We are excited to build an innovative suite of training opportunities to empower librarians to engage in digital scholarship. Our multi-institutional collaboration will enable us to reach academic libraries across the spectrum of higher education institutions, and address the urgent need for expanded library research support in digital humanities,” said Green.

North America’s largest public academic library and the nation’s top library and information science program have enjoyed a long history of close and productive collaborations. This project brings together noted experts in research and practice both at Illinois as well as other institutions to further digital humanities research. Working with the Illinois PIs will be colleagues from Indiana University, Northwestern University, Lafayette College, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and the HTRC.

“This is an exciting next step in opening the powerful resources of the HTRC to academic libraries across the country. Librarians are on the front lines of bringing big data tools and methods to their constituencies, and this grant will make them even more effective in supporting research,” said Downie.

“This grant will enable a team of library and information science professionals to advance the use of data mining tools that have the potential to revolutionize digital scholarship practices using the HathiTrust Digital Library. The resulting network of expertise and support for digital humanities research and teaching has the potential to fundamentally change the nature of libraries’ research services,” said Namachchivaya.

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Local Media Collection Acquired


A collection of nearly 3,000 rare and out-of-print BluRay discs, DVDs, and VHS tapes from the inventory of a local institution will join the already extensive media holdings of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library–where they will be available to patrons from both the campus and community.

When local resident and University employee Dena Strong learned That’s Rentertainment, one of the largest independent video rental stores in Illinois, would be closing its doors on August 16, 2015, after 30 years of service, she immediately took steps to ensure that at least a portion of the business’s unique collection would remain accessible to local viewers. Strong spearheaded a GoFundMe campaign and the community rallied behind her; the project raised more than $3,600.

“That’s Rentertainment has been a wonderful community resource for three decades,” said Strong. “I wanted to help the Library preserve the rare, unusual, and beautiful parts of Rentertainment’s collection for our community’s use into the future.”

As Strong’s project was taking shape, faculty members began contacting Robert Cagle, Library cinema studies and media services specialist, requesting the purchase of specific titles and series. With the help of Associate University Librarian for Collections Tom Teper, Cagle and colleagues Diana Jaher, Richard Leskosky, and J.B. Capino from the Department of Media and Cinema Studies; Mara Thacker of the International and Area Studies Library; and personnel in the Library’s Acquisition unit set about selecting materials from the more than 30,000 titles on That’s Rentertainment’s shelves. The total cost of purchasing all of the chosen titles quickly exceeded the amount raised by the GoFundMe page. With an additional $26,000 in gift funding from the University Library, the collection was acquired.

“The University Library felt that these hard-to-come-by titles were critical items that should be accessible,” said Dean of Libraries and University Librarian John Wilkin. “The acquisition of all 3,000 titles would not have been possible without the financial support of our Library Friends.”

“I’m excited to see such a substantial portion of our collection find a home right here on the University of Illinois campus,” said Geoffrey Merritt, owner of That’s Rentertainment. “I’m very happy people will still be able to access all of these important films.”

“These newly-added materials–primarily local, independent, and international film and television titles–provide invaluable resources for instructors, and have a wide audience off campus, as well.” said Cagle. “Anyone interested in checking out these titles, or any other Library holdings may do so by obtaining a courtesy card.”

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