LANSING, MI—The Midwest Collaborative for Library Services (MCLS) has been awarded a 2022 National Leadership Grant for Libraries from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). The $242,351 grant will further develop and expand capacity for the Michigan Digital Preservation Network (MDPN) through a first-of-its-kind digital preservation system. The MDPN, a member-governed, collaborative organization dedicated to preserving Michigan’s digital cultural heritage, has been a program of MCLS since 2020. 

“IMLS’s grant award will certainly further our goal to bring innovative digital preservation services to a variety of cultural memory institutions throughout Michigan. We believe the MDPN’s work to date has begun to establish an important foundation for others to build on, and we truly appreciate IMLS’s support to continue that work,” notes MCLS Executive Director Scott Garrison. 

National Leadership Grants for Libraries are awarded annually to projects of national impact that address significant challenges and opportunities facing the library and archives fields. The project must have the potential to advance theory and practice with new tools, research findings, models, services, practices, or alliances that will be widely used. MCLS’s project is one of 39 that IMLS funded in 2022.  

The MDPN’s project will build one of the first production-scale digital preservation networks using newly developed software from the LOCKSS (Lots of Copies Keeps Stuff Safe) Program at Stanford University. This new LAAWS (LOCKSS Architected as a Web Service) software, paired with other tools that promote ease-of-use and accessibility, will ultimately make digital preservation easier for small and under-resourced institutions with little to no technical expertise.  

“Digital preservation shouldn’t be reserved for the institutions with the most money or the best-trained staff. Local historical societies and community archives and museums – many of which share space with their local public libraries – often steward the most unique, one-of-a-kind collections and artifacts,” says MDPN Coordinator Dr. Chelsea Denault. “But for many reasons, these institutions often don’t have the skills or support they need to do robust digital preservation to keep these valuable resources safe. Working with our partners at the Library of Michigan and the DPLA Michigan Service Hub to digitize these items and make them accessible via the Web, the MDPN will use these funds from IMLS to scale up our network in order to bring accessible and affordable digital preservation to cultural memory institutions of all types in Michigan.” 

About MCLS
MCLS is a member-owned and governed non-profit dedicated to serving libraries of all types and sizes in Indiana and Michigan. Its goals are to empower members to better serve their communities through offering technology and digital resources, training and engagement opportunities, access to group purchasing and exclusive vendor discounts, consulting services, and more. By connecting member libraries through technology and networking, MCLS promotes sharing best practices and building strong library communities and colleague networks. Learn more about MCLS membership and services at mcls.org.  

About MDPN

Since 2020, MDPN has collaborated with public libraries, museums, archives, and historical societies across Michigan. MDPN works to not only provide an accessible and reliable “gold standard” for digital preservation technology to organizations across the state, but also cultivate a vibrant and knowledgeable community of diverse stakeholders engaged in advancing digital preservation practice and discussion. MDPN is a program of MCLS. Learn more about MDPN membership and how to get involved with digital preservation efforts in Michigan at mipres.org

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