Lilly Endowment’s $3.1M grant to help library digitize records

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The Indianapolis Public Library Foundation has received a $3.1 million grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. to help the library digitize city archives and create a center to study African-American writing and culture.

The Indianapolis Public Library announced the grant Tuesday, saying that the library will “digitize and make available for free online access a significant portion of the histories of the Indianapolis Public Schools, Indianapolis Fire Department, Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department and Indianapolis Parks and Recreation Department.”

More than 1 million pages of records, 150 three-dimensional objects and 400 films will be digitized.

And, by next fall, the library will create the Center for African-American Literature and Culture at the downtown Central Library, which will be “a place to study the works of local African-American writers and discover the rich heritage of black authors from Indiana and beyond.”

The center, which will be curated by a dedicated librarian with an initial collection of 10,000 volumes, will host author talks and fairs, as well as other programming to highlight the collection.

The library also announced a $192,000 effort to fund a “global village project” to serve immigrants and non-native English speakers in the city. About 5,300 new printed books will be added to the library’s collection of world language books.

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