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Applications open for Community Collections grant program!

This post initially appeared on another Library of Congress blog, Of the People: Widening the Path. Be sure to subscribe to that blog for updates and information about the Of the People initiative at the Library, which has been funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Four young boys pose at an outdoor festival

Puerto Rican Festival, North Common, Lowell, Massachusetts, 1987. Photograph by Tom Rankin. Lowell Folklife Project Collection (AFC 1987/042: LFP-DD-C006 ).

The Library of Congress and the American Folklife Center are thrilled to announce the official launch of the Community Collections grant program. These grants will support individuals or non-profit organizations in producing cultural documentation–photographs, interviews, audio or video recordings about their community from the community’s perspective. Materials gathered through this program will become part of the Library’s permanent collection, while locally-held copies can enhance (or seed) community archives. This exciting program is part of the larger Of the People initiative funded by the Mellon Foundation that creates dynamic opportunities for more people to engage with the Library. All activity under the initiative will expand the Library’s efforts to ensure that our historical record reflects a diversity of experiences, thus weaving a more inclusive American story.

Formal Notices of Funding Opportunity can be found on Grants.gov for individuals and for organizations. The due date for applications is September 7, 2021. Grants will be up to $50,000 ($60,000 if applicants intend to host a public program in their community), and will support projects of up to 12-months in length.

Support for applicants can be found here (individuals and organizations, and will be updated as more resources become available. Additionally, the Center will be holding informational webinars about the funding opportunity. The first one will be on August 11, 2021 at 4pm Eastern Time–register for the Zoom event here!

Since shortly after its inception in 1976 through the American Folklife Preservation Act (Public Law 94-201), the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress has maintained a significant ethnographic archive. Now numbering about 6.5 million items and comprising just over 3400 distinct collections, the AFC archive contains documentation of diverse cultural communities and traditions spanning the late 1800s on through today. Beyond caring for these collections, the AFC has also actively built the collections by conducting large scale folklife survey projects between 1977 and 1998 around the country, training people in cultural documentation methods, and offering financial support through the Archie Green Fellowship program to build the Occupational Folklife Project. The Community Collections grant program builds on—and expands–such efforts.

Digital flyer for grant program

2021 Folklife Interns: Welcome Aboard!

The American Folklife Center staff is thrilled to welcome our 2021 Folklife Interns: Camille Acosta and Kennedi Johnson. It was a competitive application pool this year, with over 350 candidates—and extremely difficult to make final selections! They’ve both officially “on-boarded” at this point and are navigating the challenges and opportunities of doing a full-time internship […]

Crowdsourcing Transcriptions: “At the Library and in the Field: John and Alan Lomax Papers”

This guest post comes from Todd Harvey, a Reference Specialist and the curator of Lomax collections at the American Folklife Center. To the Librarian of Congress March 21, 1940 Alan Lomax has in Washington with him today and tomorrow a folk singer for whose excellence he vouchers. This singer, Woodie Guthrie by name, is willing […]

AFC Fellowship and Award Recipients 2021

The American Folklife Center (AFC) at the Library of Congress is pleased to announce the 2021 recipients of its three competitive annual fellowships and awards programs: the Archie Green Fellowships, the Gerald E. and Corinne L. Parsons Fund Award, and Blanton Owen Fund Award. This year, these three awards went to nine projects throughout the […]

“God put the good stuff where lazy people can’t have any”: Exploring West Virginia Foodways in a New AFC Film Series

The following is a guest post by West Virginia State Folklorist Emily Hilliard, who directs the West Virginia Folklife Program, based at the West Virginia Humanities Council. AFC staff have been working with Emily, as well as Mike Costello and Amy Dawson of Lost Creek Farm, to co-produce the Homegrown Foodways in West Virginia program, […]

August Online Symposium Will Feature Folklore Podcasters and Social Media Leaders

The American Folklife Center is pleased to announce Traditional Folklore in a Digital World, a two-part symposium on August 17 and 24 examining some of the ways folklore is spread, discussed, and transformed in the digital environment. The symposium will bring together leading podcasters and influential figures in social media who are helping define what folklore is in the 21st century. It will consist of two Zoom-based panels, one on podcasts and the other on social media. Each panel brings together four compelling leaders in online folklore, who will present a brief rundown of what they do, and then take questions from the audience. AFC staff, including me, will be there to moderate and direct the questions. The podcast panel features the hosts of Lore, Crimelore, The Folklore Podcast, and Jack Dappa Blues and the African American Folklorist. The Social Media panel features folks from Folklore Thursday, Folk Horror Revival, and the Carterhaugh School of Folklore and the Fantastic. We hope you’ll join us for a fascinating discussion. Both panels are free and open to the public, but registration is required.  (Don’t worry, the links to register are in this post!) 

The Power of Words, the Power of Belonging: What the Navajo Code Talkers Taught Me

The following is a guest post by Nathan Cross, VHP Archivist and primary author of VHP’s Navajo Code Talkers LibGuide. The Veterans History Project (VHP) is pleased to announce a new resource designed to introduce VHP’s holdings related to the veterans known as Navajo Code Talkers. These veterans, Native Americans who served in the Pacific […]

Arkansas: Home to Good Sweet Tea, Southern Hospitality and Amazing Veterans

The following is a guest blog post by Mitch Friesenborg, a summer intern in the office of U.S. Senator John Boozman (AR). He attends Harding University, and is a member of the Arkansas National Guard. In the year 2021, the United States is in relative peace. No teenager today is anxious at the chance they […]