National Endowment for the Humanities, Library of America, Mid-Continent vs. San Francisco Public Library, and More News Briefs

National Endowment for the Humanities announces $30.9 million in grants, Library of America's African American poetry initiative is taking applications for programming grants, Mid-Continent Public Library and San Francisco Public Library have a Super Bowl wager, and more News Briefs.

Lift Every Voice logoLift Every Voice, Library of America’s (LoA) forthcoming national public humanities initiative celebrating African American poetry, is calling for applications for programming grants from libraries. Funded with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and Emerson Collective, Lift Every Voice is directed by LoA and principal humanities advisor Kevin Young and is presented in partnership with the Schomburg Center for Research in Black CultureAcademy of American PoetsCave Canem FoundationCenter for African American Poetry and PoeticsNational Book FoundationPoetry FoundationPoetry Society of America, and Poets House. The application deadline is February 21 for the grant term September 2020–March 2021. For more information and to apply, visit

On January 14 the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) announced $30.9 million in grants to support 188 humanities projects in 45 states and the District of Columbia. An additional $48 million was awarded to fund 55 state, territorial, and jurisdictional humanities councils, which serve local communities through a range of state-focused humanities discussion and educational outreach programs. Grantee projects include:

  • emergency preparedness at the Alaska Division of Libraries, Archives, and Museums;
  • a continuing education program in preservation of audiovisual collections for tribal archives, libraries, and museums and the establishment of five regional hubs, developed by the Association of Moving Image Archivists, Hollywood, CA;
  • improving preservation and access to special collections at the Pueblo City County Library District, CO;
  • exhibition infrastructure at the Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, DC;
  • professional development at the Foundation of the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works, Washington, DC;
  • a workshop for humanities scholars and librarians on long-term data storage and maintenance at Florida State University, Tallahassee;
  • a project to study errors and paratextual noise in optically transcribed digital library texts at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign;
  • the transformation of a historic building in the town of Kittery, ME, into a 21st-century library;
  • a preservation field service program at the Northeast Document Conservation Center, Andover, MA;
  • renovations to the McMorrough Library at Holmes Community College, Goodman, MS;
  • structural improvements at Princeton University’s Historical Studies and Social Science Library at the Institute for Advanced Study, NJ;
  • renovation of an existing research center, library and archives building at the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, Santa Fe, NM;
  • renovation of the Astoria Public Library, OR;
  • construction of a heritage center at the Eastern Shore Public Library Foundation, VA;

and more.

The Wilton Library, CT, and the family of the late jazz legend Dave Brubeck announced on January 11 that the Brubeck Collection, formerly housed at University of the Pacific, CA, has found its way home to Wilton Library. The collection is a treasure trove of musical recordings, correspondence, legal and business documents, photographs, manuscripts, and memorabilia from Dave and Iola Brubeck, two of contemporary jazz’s greatest contributors.

Rakuten OverDrive announced on January 15 that 73 public library systems from the United States, Canada, Singapore, Australia, and New Zealand each enabled readers to borrow over 1 million ebooks and audiobooks from their catalogs in 2019. This represents the most systems ever to reach this milestone.

Charlotte Mecklenburg Library, NC, has received a $3 million investment by the Gambrell Foundation in The CommonSpark, a $135 million public-private campaign to ignite change within CML. The funds will support an Innovation Lab housed at the new Main Library, opening in 2024. The planned lab will be a next-generation makerspace, equipped with the technology, tools and resources of tomorrow for individuals and groups to engage in design for learning, economic opportunity and problem-solving.

W.W. Norton & Company, Inc. has announced that Abbeville Press, Inc., independent publisher of fine art and illustrated books based in New York City, will become a distribution client in North America beginning July 1. Norton will handle sales of Abbeville’s list to wholesale, retail, and library accounts, both brick-and-mortar and online, as well as to special sales venues.

pile of books with titles relating to super bowl
Book spine poetry courtesy of Mid-Continent Public Library

In the spirit of the upcoming Super Bowl, Director Steve Potter of the Mid-Continent Public Library (MCPL), MO, and San Francisco Public Library (SFPL) Director Michael Lambert have placed a friendly wager. If the Chiefs win, Lambert will make a donation to MCPL’s Foundation; if the 49ers win, Potter will make a donation to SFPL’s Foundation. The directors have also agreed that the loser will wear the other team’s hat to their next board or staff meeting. Let the games begin!

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Lisa Peet

Lisa Peet is News Editor for Library Journal.

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