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CLIR Awards $570,595 for Recordings at Risk

The Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) today announced the award of $570,595 to fund 20 Recordings at Risk projects. This ninth cohort of recipients will build on the work of the 127 previously funded projects, which have already digitally preserved nearly 38,000 at-risk audio and/or visual recordings.

Analog audiovisual materials are increasingly at risk because of their fragility, a lack of easily available playing equipment, and environmental threats. The grant recipients will digitize a variety of formats using state-of-the-art technologies with the help of qualified digitization service providers. The recordings document twentieth-century Native life in America, music history, labor and social justice activism, animal life, and the perspectives and creativity of people from California to Puerto Rico.

Cycle 9 awarded projects:

Organization: Blank Forms
Project: The Cecil Taylor Preservation Project: Digitizing the Personal Recordings of Cecil Taylor, Pioneering Composer, Multi-Instrumentalist, Artist, and Poet
Amount: $12,125

Organization: Boston City Archives
Project: Preserving Boston’s Voices: Digitizing the Boston 200 Community Oral History Collection
Amount: $39,155

Organization: Boston CSJ Archives
Project: Throw Open the Windows! Digitizing the Experiences of the Sisters of Saint Joseph of Boston During the Era of Vatican II
Amount: $16,845

Organization: Boston Symphony Orchestra (The BSO)
Project: Preserving a Conducting Legacy: John Williams with the Boston Pops (1979 – 1991)
Amount: $14,025

Organization: Bowling Green State University
Project: Filk Collections at BGSU: Preserving 1980s Fan Culture and Community
Amount: $16,675

Organization: Catawba Nation
Project: Digitizing Catawba Voices
Amount: $36,570

Organization: Georgia State University Foundation
Project: Digitizing Southern Labor’s 20th and 21st Century Spoken Word
Amount: $23,945

Organization: GLBT Historical Society
Project: Preserving LGBTQ Voices: Digitizing Interviews Conducted by Mary Richards, Journalist for the Bay Area Reporter
Amount: $17,642

Organization: Incubadora Microempresa Bieke, Inc.
Project: Archivo Histórico de Vieques Digitization Project
Amount: $50,000

Organization: Minnesota Historical Society (MNHS)
Project: Guerilla Television Meets Broadcast Journalism – Preserving the Early History of Intermedia Arts Minnesota
Amount: $12,495

Organization: National Geographic
Project: Crittercam Collection – Digitizing Animal Behavior Through Their Own Point of View
Amount: $24,360

Organization: New York University (NYU)
Project: Reframing 1970s-1980s NYC Through the Lens of Chinese Cable TV (CCTV): Preserving the Community-Produced Television Program
Amount: $27,215

Organization: North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University (N.C. A&T)
Project: Digitizing the History of North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University, 1937 – 1979
Amount: $47,570

Organization: Piedmont University
Project: Preserving Southern Progressive History: Digitizing Original Recordings of Social Justice Author and Activist Lillian E. Smith’s Laurel Falls Camp for Girls and Other Recordings ca. 1940s-1950s
Amount: $26,278

Organization: San Francisco Jazz Organization (SFJAZZ)
Project: SFJAZZ Historic Archive Digitization
Amount: $41,671

Organization: UC Santa Barbara Library
Project: Preserving America’s Radio Heritage: The Recordings of Variety Show Pioneer Rudy Vallée
Amount: $49,985

Organization: University of Idaho
Project: Unheard Voices: Digitizing the Oral Histories of Underrepresented Communities in Idaho
Amount: $17,321

Organization: University of Pittsburgh Library System
Project: Preserving the Experiences of African Americans and Immigrants Racing to Pittsburgh’s Steel Valley
Amount: $36,826

Organization: University of Tennessee
Project: A More Comprehensive Picture: Saving the Audiovisual Records of Congressional Anti-Corruption Efforts in the Papers of U.S. Senator Estes Kefauver and Ray Jenkins
Amount: $49,200

Organization: Willard Library
Project: Digitizing Oral Histories of Battle Creek
Amount: $10,692

Visit the program’s Funded Projects page for more information about individual projects and about the independent review panel which makes all funding recommendations for this program. CLIR extends its gratitude for all applicants to and reviewers of this cycle, which took place during a time of ongoing social duress.

Funded by the Mellon Foundation and administered by CLIR, the Recordings at Risk program supports the preservation of rare and unique audio and/or visual recordings of high scholarly value. Since 2017, the program has awarded grants of between $10,000 and $50,000 to diverse organizations, providing necessary funds to save cultural memory that would otherwise be lost. This was the last cycle of funding under the current iteration of the program, and at this time, CLIR has no information to share about future funding. Those interested are encouraged to sign up for CLIR’s Grants + Programs Newsletter for updates.

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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