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CLIR and The HBCU Library Alliance Collaboration Supports Preservation Projects at HBCU Libraries and Archives

Alexandria, VA – The Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) and the HBCU Library Alliance proudly announce the successful culmination of their inaugural collaboration, aimed at empowering Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) to preserve and digitize their invaluable cultural heritage.

With the generous support of 78 CLIR sponsors, the initiative raised $85,000, underscoring a resounding commitment to safeguarding the historical legacies of HBCUs for generations to come.

The initiative was sparked by a recognition of the crucial role historically HBCUs play in educating students of color since their founding in the mid-1800s. Despite their significant contributions to society, many HBCUs struggle with limited resources, particularly for the maintenance and preservation of their archival collections. Against a backdrop of financial challenges and political attacks on education and historical truth, as part of its HBCU initiatives, CLIR began working programmatically with the HBCU Library Alliance to identify projects to support. 

CLIR will produce digital stories to track the progress of these projects. The next round of fundraising is currently underway to support projects for 2025. 

“This collaboration touches deeply both heart and mind. Making accessible the compelling stories previously hidden in these libraries and archives brings grace and vitality to our cultural heritage as they inspire a more just and accurate telling of our history,” says CLIR president Charles Henry.

The awardees and their projects include:

Lane College in Jackson, Tennessee, will preserve and digitize its archival materials, including family books, photographs, college reports, yearbooks, rare books, and newspapers. The project will ensure the longevity of Lane College’s history and make these materials accessible to students, faculty, alumni, and the wider community.  

Texas College’s D. R. Glass Library in Tyler, Texas, is undertaking “The Keepers of the Flame” project to rebuild and establish safeguards for the archival collection, which includes yearbooks, photographs, programs, letters, and newspaper articles documenting the history of the college and the Christian Methodist Episcopal (CME) Church. The project includes restoration of college leaders’ portraits, collection of archival supplies, alumni events, and digitization of historical records to increase accessibility.

Oakwood University’s Eva B. Dykes Library in Huntsville, Alabama, is initiating “The Preservation and Digitization of Oakwood’s Sounds & Visuals: Beginning with Our Music” project. This project focuses on preserving and digitizing the university’s audio-visual collection, initially concentrating on music recordings and performances. It involves acquiring and setting up conversion equipment, digitizing materials, creating metadata, and celebrating the unveiling of the digital collection.

Cheyney University’s Leslie Pinkney Hill Library in Cheyney, Pennsylvania will use funds for database subscriptions. This project will provide essential resources to support the educational and research needs of students, faculty, staff, and community members. Subscriptions to databases such as African American databases, film databases, and career-related databases will fill critical gaps in the library’s collection, promoting academic success, personal growth, and professional development.

Lincoln University’s Langston Hughes Memorial Library in Pennsylvania will address flaws and weaknesses identified in recent assessments of its special collections and archives. The “Securing the Block: Turning the Langston Hughes Memorial Library into a Fortress of Knowledge” project will focus on creating finding aids, upgrading infrastructure, enhancing security measures, and ultimately ensuring equitable access to knowledge for generations to come.

“HBCUs hold materials and information that clarify and augment the historical record. Through our relationship with CLIR, we are pleased to provide members an opportunity to design a project to advance their libraries, to create scholarship,  and to promote teaching and learning,” says Sandra Phoenix, Executive Director of the HBCU Library Alliance. 

CLIR will also allocate funds to subsidize sponsorship benefits for 102 HBCUs, ensuring broader participation in our programs. Additionally, CLIR resources will be deployed to bolster support for other HBCU-related initiatives, amplifying the collective impact within the community. 

About CLIR:

The Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) 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 HBCU Library Alliance:

The HBCU Library Alliance is a consortium that supports the collaboration of information professionals dedicated to providing an array of resources to strengthen historically black colleges and universities and their constituents.



Stacey Patton

Director of Communications

Council on Library and Information Resources

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