About

Culture in Transit was a partnership between the Metropolitan New York Library Council, the Brooklyn Public Library and Queens Library that brought mobile scanning equipment to smaller libraries, archives, museums, and the communities they serve. The project offered library patrons and cultural heritage institutions an opportunity to create digital copies of their materials using state-of-the-art equipment. Digitized materials were shared with the public through local digital archives and also through the Digital Public Library of America. Culture in Transit was one of twenty-two projects to win the Knight Foundation’s Knight News Challenge on Libraries in 2014. Our work fell into two main areas:

  • Community Events (Queens Library and Brooklyn Public Library): Mobile digitization kits were brought to library branches and local residents were invited to bring in family photos and memorabilia. Materials were scanned, which were returned to the donors along with a flash drive of digital copies. The digital copies were also included in the BPL and QL’s own digital catalogs, and shared with the Digital Public Library of America.
  • Institutional Scanning (METRO): We brought our mobile digitization kit to METRO member institutions across New York City and Westchester County. We scanned selected archival collections and made them available on METRO’s hosted collections site, Digital Culture of Metropolitan New York (DCMNY) and the Digital Public Library of America.

Project Staff:

Anne Karle-Zenith, Digital Services Manager, Metropolitan New York Library Council
Ivy Marvel, Manager of Special Collections, Brooklyn Public Library
Natalie Milbrodt, Associate Coordinator of Metadata Services, Queens Library
Margo Padilla, Strategic Initiatives Manager, Metropolitan New York Library Council
Chris Stanton, Metadata Specialist, Empire State Digital Network
Kerri Willette, Manager, Empire State Digital Network

Mobile Digitization Specialists:
Caroline Catchpole, Metropolitan New York Library Council
Sarah Quick, Brooklyn Public Library
Maggie Schreiner, Queens Library

Project Partners:
Metropolitan New York Library Council (METRO)
A non-profit organization working to develop and maintain essential library services throughout New York City and Westchester County. As the largest reference and research resources (3Rs) library council in New York State, METRO members reflect a wide range of special, academic, archival and public library organizations.

Brooklyn Public Library
An independent system that serves the Brooklyn’s 2.5 million residents, offering thousands of public programs, millions of books and use of more than 1,100 free Internet-accessible computers.

Queens Library
An autonomous library system that serves 2.3 million people from 62 locations plus seven Adult Learning Centers and two Family Literacy Centers. It circulates among the highest numbers of books and other library materials in the country.

Empire State Digital Network (ESDN)
A service hub of the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) administered by the Metropolitan New York Library Council (METRO) in collaboration with eight allied regional library councils collectively working as NY3Rs Association. They provide the necessary personnel and technological infrastructure to contribute digital resources from hundreds of New York’s libraries, archives, museums, and cultural heritage institutions to the DPLA.

Affiliated Projects:
Digital Public Library of America (DPLA)
A virtual library that brings together millions of items from America’s museums, archives and libraries.

Digital Culture of Metropolitan New York (DCMNY)
The online platform of METRO-hosted digital collections, DCMNY features digitized photographs, postcards, letters, maps, art catalogs, and more from seventeen participating institutions.

Queens Memory
Documents the history of Queens through historical and contemporary photography, maps, news clippings, and oral history interviews. The Queens Memory Project is a collaboration of the Archives at Queens Library and Queens College Libraries’ Department of Special Collections and Archives.

Our Streets Our Stories
An oral history project based at the Brooklyn Public Library.

Funding:
The Knight News Challenge on Libraries
The Knight News Challenge on Libraries is funding breakthrough ideas that leverage libraries as a platform to build more knowledgeable communities. Culture in Transit is one of twenty-two projects to win the Knight Foundation’s Knight News Challenge on Libraries.