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CLIR Announces Call for Submissions: Grants for Digitizing Hidden Special Collections and Archives Awards

CLIR Announces Call for Submissions: Grants for Digitizing Hidden Special Collections and Archives Awards

Funding of $4,000,000 Allocated to Facilitate the Digitization of Rare and Unique Materials

The Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) is now accepting initial applications for Digitizing Hidden Special Collections and Archives: Amplifying Unheard Voices. Made possible through the generous support of the Mellon Foundation, this competitive program is dedicated to financing the digitization of rare and unique materials held by various collecting organizations.

The program’s objective is to encourage proposals for the digitization of materials that enrich the public’s understanding of the histories of underrepresented communities, particularly those of people of color and other marginalized populations. These are communities and perspectives that have not received adequate recognition or attention. By funding a second cohort encompassing academic, independent, and community-based organizations, CLIR aims to empower the creation of digital repositories that contain previously inaccessible or underutilized collections. This will lead to a wider appreciation of the significance of providing access to resources that tell the stories of historically marginalized individuals, groups, and communities, all within a framework of equitable and inclusive digital spaces.

CLIR will award grants ranging from $50,000 to $300,000 in the local currency of the recipient organizations. The awarded projects are scheduled to begin on January 1, 2025.

At the core of this program lie five fundamental values, which have played an integral role in its design and will serve as guiding principles for the assessment of applications by reviewers. These values encompass the promotion of public knowledge, the embrace of diverse representation, the formation of genuine partnerships, the establishment of sustainable infrastructures, and the prioritization of community-centric accessibility. Throughout the application process, CLIR staff and reviewers will collaborate with applicants to foster a deeper and broader understanding of how these values can be advanced through establishment of digital libraries and archives.

Application Process

The application process has two stages. The initial application is open to eligible nonprofit collecting organizations located in the United States and Canada. Deadline for submission of proposals is set for 11:59 pm ET on November 1, 2023. During this stage, applicants are encouraged to effectively communicate the significance of the materials and the need for support through this grant. The program’s independent review panel will then select applicants whose initial proposals align closely with the program’s scope and reflect its core values. These selected applicants will be invited to submit a final proposal in early 2024. Detailed information about the application process can be found on the program’s Apply for an Award page.

Webinar for Applicants

To offer further guidance to potential applicants, CLIR will host an informational webinar for applicants on September 14 at 1:00 pm ET, followed by a Q&A session on October 11 at 1:00 pm ET. Participation requires advance registration. Both sessions will be live captioned, and transcripts along with recordings will be made available on the program’s Apply for an Award page after the events.

About CLIR

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.

About the Mellon Foundation

The Mellon Foundation is the nation’s largest supporter of the arts and humanities. Since 1969, the Foundation has been guided by its core belief that the humanities and arts are essential to human understanding. The Foundation believes that the arts and humanities are where we express our complex humanity, and that everyone deserves the beauty, transcendence, and freedom that can be found there. Through our grants, we seek to build just communities enriched by meaning and empowered by critical thinking, where ideas and imagination can thrive. Learn more at

For media inquiries, please contact: Stacey Patton, Director of Communications,

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