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Jul 24 2012

NCSU Libraries Awarded Second Year of Grant to Improve Access to the History of Agriculture in North Carolina

By: David Hiscoe

(Raleigh, N.C.)—The North Carolina State University (NCSU) Libraries has been awarded a $75,000 grant to be used for the second year of the digitization project, “Cultivating a Revolution: Science, Technology, and Change in North Carolina Agriculture, 1950-1979.” The project serves students, teachers, researchers, and the general public by digitizing and making easily available online an important body of primary documents on the evolution of agriculture in North Carolina during a critical period in its development.

Field hands work in North Carolina agricultureThe funds to support this work were awarded by the State Library of North Carolina and are made possible through funding from the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) as administered by the State Library of North Carolina, a division of the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources.

These federal funds are investments that help libraries deliver relevant and up-to-date services for their communities. The materials digitized through “Cultivating a Revolution” document the advances of modern agricultural practices and their economic impact across the state. During the time period covered by the project, farming in North Carolina moved from subsistence levels to the production of global commodities, a shift driven in part by research and development done at NC State University.

During the second year of the project, the NCSU Libraries will digitize an additional 15,000 archival pages. Upon completion, the project will make 114 16mm films and over 30,000 archival pages available online. The majority of collections to be curated in the second year of the project documents research and development in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences during this revolutionary time in North Carolina agricultural history.

“Cultivating a Revolution” builds upon the success of other digital projects developed by the NCSU Libraries with the support of LSTA funds.  Last year, the Libraries completed “Beaux Arts to Modernism: Early Twentieth Century Architecture in North Carolina” (http://www.lib.ncsu.edu/specialcollections/projects/beaux-arts-to-modernism.html)–a collaboration with the State Library of North Carolina, UNC Charlotte, and the Asheville Art Museum.  The project digitized 9,000 original architectural drawings and 700 photographs documenting over 1,000 buildings in cities throughout North Carolina.   Previous agricultural digitization projects include the NCSU Libraries’ Green ‘N’ Growing (http://www.lib.ncsu.edu/specialcollections/greenngrowing/), which documents the history of    4-H and home demonstration in North Carolina from the 1900s to the 1970s.

The LSTA grant program administered by the State Library of North Carolina funds projects that help libraries deliver learning opportunities for a lifetime, support libraries in their mission to provide cost-effective access to the Internet and to information expertise, and make library resources more accessible to all users.

The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 122,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. The Institute’s mission is to create strong libraries and museums that connect people to information and ideas.

For additional information about “Cultivating a Revolution,” see http://www.lib.ncsu.edu/specialcollections/projects/cultivating-a-revolution.htmlor contact Brian Dietz, Digital Program Librarian for Special Collections, at brian_dietz@ncsu.edu.