Contact: Guy Lamolinara, Library of Congress, (202) 707-9217; Rebecca Churchill, The New York Public Library, (212) 512-0252

July 21, 1997

Library of Congress To Hold Award Ceremony at the New York Public Library

Library of Congress/Ameritech National Digital Library Competition Winner to Accept Award of $74,956

In a ceremony to be held at The New York Public Library, the Library of Congress will award the institution $74,956 to digitize its important collection of "Small Town America: Stereoscopic Views from the Dennis Collection, 1850-1910." The New York Public Library is one of 10 winners in the Library of Congress/Ameritech National Digital Library Competition.

The grant will be awarded in the Trustees Room of The New York Public Library, Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street, on Friday, July 25, at 11 a.m. In attendance will be Librarian of Congress James H. Billington; Paul LeClerc, President of The New York Public Library; and Lana Porter, President of Ameritech Library Services.

The award is made possible by a $2 million gift from the Ameritech Foundation to the Library of Congress to establish the three-year competition. The 10 winners of awards for 1996-97, which were announced on April 10, will make their digitized collections part of American Memory (http://www.loc.gov), the Library of Congress's on-line collections of important American materials. The digitized version of the Dennis Collection will also be available from The New York Public Library's Web site (http://www.nypl.org (external link)).

"The Library of Congress is pleased to welcome The New York Public Library to our growing collections of important materials relating to American history," said Dr. Billington. "The stereoscopic photographs from the Dennis Collection of small-town America from The New York Public Library will enhance the extensive photographic and American history collections already available on-line from the Library of Congress."

"The New York Public Library is pleased to participate in the American Memory on-line collections with this important series of 19th century city and town views," said Dr. Paul LeClerc, President of The New York Public Library. "This program demonstrates the power of technology in broadening public access to primary research materials and in supporting new avenues for scholars and students. We look forward to continuing to work closely with the Library of Congress and the National Digital Library."

Ms. Porter said, "Ameritech is excited to be a part in helping to make the Dennis Collection available electronically to students and researchers all over the country."

The more than 11,500 digital images in the Dennis Collection will provide information on agriculture, family life, architecture, labor, recreation and transportation of the tri-state area of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. The photographs will complement such Library of Congress American Memory collections as the 25,000 photographs from the Detroit Publishing Co. and the 29,000 images in the Architecture and Interior Design collection.

BACKGROUND

The 10 winners of the Library of Congress/Ameritech National Digital Library Competition for 1996-97 have received approximately $600,000, which will be used toward the cost of digitizing specific collections of Americana and making them available at the Library of Congress's Web site.

Nearly 80 grant applications from 31 states were received for the first year's competition, which were reviewed by three independent panels of distinguished scholars, educators, archivists, librarians, administrators, and technical specialists.

In formulating the competition guidelines and the evaluation process, the Library of Congress turned to the National Endowment for the Humanities for expert guidance.

Led by George Farr, Director of the Division of Preservation and Access of the National Endowment for the Humanities, and Deanna Marcum, President of the Council on Library and Information Resources, three successive panels evaluated applications for historical significance, technical viability, and the relevance of collections to current and planned American Memory collections.

Additional information on the Library of Congress/Ameritech National Digital Library Competition, including summaries of the projects of the first award recipients, is available at:

The goal of the National Digital Library Program is to collaborate with other institutions to make millions of items available for free over the Internet by the year 2000. Ameritech's contribution will help the Library of Congress meet that goal by providing funds to libraries and other institutions to aid them in the critical, yet expensive, task of making their unique American collections widely available to anyone with access to the World Wide Web.

The Library of Congress is the world's largest library, with more than 111 million items, including the papers of 23 U.S. presidents. Its collections are in nearly every language and format -- from Chinese woodblock prints to compact disks. Founded to serve the reference needs of Congress, the Library has grown into an unparalleled treasure house of knowledge and creativity. It will celebrate its bicentenary as the nation's oldest national cultural institution in the year 2000.

Ameritech serves millions of customers in 50 states and 40 countries. It provides a full range of communications services, including local and long distance telephone, cellular, paging, security monitoring, cable TV, electronic commerce, on-line services and more. One of the world's 100 largest companies, Ameritech (http://www.ameritech.com (external link)) has 66,000 employees, 1 million share owners and $24 billion in assets.

The New York Public Library is a private corporation responsible for the operation of four research centers and 84 branch libraries. The Research Libraries maintain noncirculating collections that constitute one of the world's major research centers and privately supported libraries open to the public. The Branch Libraries offer circulating and reference collections in the boroughs of the Bronx, Manhattan and Staten Island, serving more than 6 million people annually.

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PR 97-119
7/21/97
ISSN 0731-3527

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