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CLIR Invites Applications for Digitizing Hidden Special Collections and Archives Awards

The Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) is now accepting applications for Digitizing Hidden Special Collections and Archives: Amplifying Unheard Voices. The competition, funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, supports digitizing collections of rare and unique materials in collecting organizations.

The program invites proposals to digitize materials that deepen public understanding of the histories of people of color and other communities and populations whose work, experiences, and perspectives have been insufficiently recognized or unattended. By funding a cohort of academic, independent, and community-based organizations to digitize now-unavailable or underutilized collections, CLIR will cultivate broad recognition of the value of creating access to resources that tell the stories of historically overlooked people, groups, and populations within equitable and inclusive digital spaces.

CLIR expects to award grants of between $50,000 and $350,000 in the local currency of the recipient organizations for projects beginning either May 1 or June 1, 2022.

The program’s home page identifies five core values that have shaped its design and will inform reviewers’ assessments of applications. These include: public knowledge, broad representation, authentic partnerships, sustainable infrastructures, and community-centered access. Through their work with applicants, CLIR staff and reviewers will strive to deepen and broaden understanding of how these values can be advanced through building digital libraries and archives.

The application process has two stages. The initial application is open to eligible nonprofit collecting organizations in the United States and Canada, and proposals are due by 11:59 pm Eastern time on April 30, 2021. The initial application requirements have been significantly reduced compared to previous iterations of the program and focus applicants’ efforts on telling the story of the materials and the need for support through this grant.The program’s independent review panel will invite applicants whose initial proposals best fit the program’s scope and exemplify its values to submit a final proposal later this year. Those interested in applying should explore the program’s home page.

CLIR will host an informational webinar for applicants on March 17 at 3:00 pm ET, and a Q&A session on March 30 at 3:00 pm ET. Advance registration is required. Both sessions will be live captioned, and transcripts and recordings will be posted alongside other resources to the program’s Apply for an Award page after the events. 

The Council on Library and Information Resources is an independent, nonprofit organization that forges strategies to enhance research, teaching, and learning environments in collaboration with libraries, cultural institutions, and communities of higher learning.

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