Local history collections are necessary to understanding the life and culture of a community. As methods for sharing information have shifted towards the web, there are many more avenues for community members to document diverse experiences. Public libraries play a critical role in building community-oriented archives and these collections are particularly important in recording the impact of unprecedented events on the lives of local citizens.
Last week, we announced a major national expansion of our Community Webs program providing infrastructure, services, and training to public librarians to archive local history as documented on the web… We now invite public libraries in the United States and cultural heritage organizations in U.S. territories to apply to join the Community Webs program. Participants in the program receive free web archiving and technical services, education, professional development, and funding to build community history web archives, especially collections documenting the lives of patrons and communities traditionally under-represented in the historical record.
If you are a public librarian interested in joining the Community Webs program please review the full call for applications and the program FAQs. Online applications are being accepted through Sunday, January 31, 2021.
The program is seeking public libraries to join a diverse network of 150+ organizations that are:
- Documenting local history by saving web-published sites, stories and community engagement on the web.
- Growing their professional skills and increasing institutional technical capacity by engaging in a supportive network of peer organizations pursuing this work.
- Building a public understanding of web archiving as a practice and its importance to preserving 21st century community history and underrepresented voices.
Current Community Webs cohort members have created nearly 300 publicly available local history web archive collections on topics ranging from COVID-19, to local arts and culture, to 2020 local and U.S. elections. Collecting the web-published materials of local organizations, movements and individuals is often the primary way to document their presence for future historians.
Benefits of participation in Community Webs include:
- A three-year subscription to the Archive-It web archiving service.
- Funding to support travel to a full-day Community Webs National Symposium (projected for 2021 and in 2022) and other professional development opportunities.
- Extensive training and educational resources provided by professional staff.
- Membership in an active and diverse community of public librarians across the country.
- Options to increase access (and discoverability) to program collections via hubs, such as DPLA.
- Funding to support local outreach, public programming, and community collaborations.