American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) Grant program 2021 graphic
December 6, 2021

The State Library of Ohio Board recently awarded $403,679 in federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to update technology at Ohio Digital Network (ODN) DigiHubs. As regional centers, DigiHubs provide digitization services to libraries, museum archives, and local communities. Digitization expands access to unique items in varying sizes, formats, and conditions for online use by researchers, students, and history and cultural heritage enthusiasts.

ODN’s DigiHubs are in Cincinnati and Hamilton County Public Library, Cleveland Public Library, Columbus Metropolitan Library, and Toledo Lucas County Public Library. These libraries provide vital resources and staffing to support and sustain digitization in Ohio. All funds will be used to enhance digitization services with equipment such as scanners and dedicated workstations, software, and maintenance support. Each DigiHub will utilize their awarded ARPA grant on state-of-the-art technology that best serves the needs of their region.

“Ohio’s library and cultural heritage institutions’ enthusiastic work in digitization has been a 21st Century initiative benefitting Ohioans and researchers around the world. Some of the equipment in the DigiHubs has been in service for close to 15 years,” stated Wendy Knapp, State Librarian of Ohio. “With expanding use of digital resources of all types through the pandemic, the ability to support strong partners across the state is a great example of how we leverage our resources to provide the best experience for all Ohioans. The revitalization of this program through the ARPA Outreach grant is a targeted response to bolster libraries as they meet their patrons where they are with high quality resources.”

Cincinnati and Hamilton County Public Library (CHPL) DigiHub was awarded a $99,843 ARPA grant to purchase a large book scanner and two flatbed scanners for use by libraries, museums and archives, and communities in their region. CHPL will use the book scanner to complete existing projects and to begin digitizing their yearbook collection which includes 236 titles and 3,038 volumes. The yearbook collection covers high schools, colleges, as well as some elementary and junior high schools dating from 1857 to the present. Recent projects at CHPL include digitizing Cincinnati’s Northside neighborhood Scarecoronas community art project and 455 slides from their Dorothy Chapman collection. The Dorothy Chapman collection documents many vanished buildings of Cincinnati’s downtown. After a local newspaper recently featured the project, the Chapman digital collection received over 30,000 views in one month.

Cleveland Public Library (CPL) DigiHub will utilize their $70,254 ARPA grant to acquire a book scanner and microfilm scanner for digitization services in their region. The equipment will enable CPL to build upon its digital literacy efforts, educating individuals and organizations in the use of high-end imaging tools, digital photography, digital asset management, archives, and online cultural heritage. The CPL DigiHub will continue their work with community organizations on their digitization projects such as Karamu House, Old Brooklyn Historical Society, Ukrainian Museum and Archives, Cleveland Orchestra, Cleveland Architecture Foundation, and more. In 2020, CPL scanned over 17,000 images and views of their digital collections increased over 30%.

Columbus Metropolitan Library (CML) DigiHub will buy a book scanner, microfilm scanner, and conservation supplies with their $108,903 ARPA grant to continue digitization services to libraries, community organizations, and individual library users in central Ohio. CML helps libraries and organizations with their digitization projects by providing their staffs training, assistance, and use of equipment that is too costly for them to purchase on their own. During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, CML library users were able to access digital collections online even when the library was closed, and staff continued answering reference questions when items were digitized. In addition, digital historical collections formed the basis of virtual programming. In 2013, CML averaged 7,000 visits to their digital collection per month. In 2021, they are averaging over 60,000.

Toledo Lucas County Public Library (TLCPL) DigiHub was awarded a $124,678 ARPA grant to purchase a book scanner and workstation to continue consulting and digitization services, and training to libraries and other cultural heritage organizations in their region. TLCPL is one of ODN’s largest contributors to date. The new scanner’s size and pressure sensors will enable TLCPL to digitize bound newspapers and rare books in their collection, many of which are folio-sized. The scanner will also further a partnership with the Toledo Museum of Art with a project to digitize and preserve the original format of the museum’s scrapbook collection.

“Ohio’s four DigiHubs are the perfect examples of collaboration among and between library types, preserving and providing access to collections of all sizes and significance,” expressed Evan T. Struble, Associate State Librarian for Library Development. “I’m grateful to the State Library Board for supporting the DigiHubs, and ultimately the Ohio Digital Network, as this work will benefit all, statewide.”

Questions about ARPA funds and Ohio libraries may be directed to Wendy Knapp, State Librarian of Ohio; Evan T. Struble, Associate State Librarian for Library Development; or Marsha McDevitt-Stredney, Marketing & Communications Director. Questions from libraries, museums and archives may be directed to Jen Johnson, Library Consultant – DPLA/Digitization.

DigiHubs were established in 2014 after the State Library of Ohio and Ohio Public Library Information Network (OPLIN) provided funds to Cincinnati and Hamilton County Public Library, Cleveland Public Library, Columbus Metropolitan Library, and Toledo Lucas County Public Library to purchase equipment for enhancing and expanding their digitization services.

Media Contact:

Marsha McDevitt-Stredney, Public Information Officer and Director, Marketing & Communications (614) 644-6875