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Appalachian Regional Library Receives Grant for Digital Watauga Project

Appalachian Regional Library announces the receipt of a $2,000 grant from the Watauga Legacy Fund, a component fund of the North Carolina Community Foundation. The Watauga Legacy Fund enables the Watauga County Community Foundation to respond to changing community needs and to enhance the quality of community life within the county through annual grants to local nonprofit organizations

Director of Libraries Jane Blackburn reports that the money will be used to subsidize part of the cost of a storage cabinet for items being digitized by the Digital Watauga Project. The work of the Digital Watauga Project, a partnership between the Watauga County Public Library and the Watauga County Historical Society, is the digital preservation of historical images, documents, and other materials related to Watauga County. This project makes it possible for the owners of historical materials to retain ownership and control over their original images, documents, and artifacts while at the same time making the digitized images of these items available to the public via the Digital Watauga website (http://digitalwatauga.org/ ). In addition, the Digital Watauga Project sponsors public events designed to highlight components of its digital collection and educate the Watauga County community about its rich, multifaceted, and important history.

“Since the launch of the Digital Watauga Project in 2014,” said Blackburn, “we have digitized and put online over 4,300 items from fifteen different collections. We anticipate that another 1,000 or so will go up by the end of summer. In addition, we are currently processing collections that have another 15,000 items or so.”

Blackburn continued “When we bring in a collection to work on, we need secure storage for it. The Watauga Legacy Fund’s contribution will help us purchase a cabinet to safely store items awaiting digitization.” The library is currently investigating other funding sources for the balance of the cost of the cabinet.