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LC Labs Letter January 2022

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January 2022

A Monthly Roundup of News and Thoughts from the Library of Congress Labs Team

News from the Connecting Communities Digital Initiative

Marya McQuirter joins the Library of Congress as Director of the Connecting Communities Digital Initiative

Marya McQuirter has joined the Digital Strategy Directorate as Director of the Connecting Communities Digital Initiative (CCDI). Under her leadership, CCDI will encourage individual creators, as well as libraries, archives, museums, colleges and universities, to reimagine and remix the Library’s digital materials and collections. In particular, they will use a range of digital and analog tools to center the histories of Black, Indigenous, Hispanic, Asian American/Pacific Islander and other communities of color.

This role builds on Marya’s extensive experience with digital humanities and public history.  Her previous work includes the dc1968 project, which highlights art, activism, architecture and everyday life in 1968 in the nation’s capital. For that project, she used the rich photographic archives at the DC Public Library People’s Archive, as well as digital materials at the Library of Congress. She also collaborated with the People’s Archive to produce a Story Map titled Evolutions and Legacies: Martin Luther King, Jr. in DC, 1957-1972 to kick off a year-long commemoration of the Poor People’s Campaign of 1968 and 2018.

As the key digital component of the broader Mellon-funded Of the People program, CCDI is part of a larger effort to create new opportunities for more individuals based in the 50 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, the commonwealths (Puerto Rico and Norther Mariana Islands) and the territories (Guam, American Samoa, U.S. Virgin Islands) to engage with the Library of Congress allowing the national library to share multiple stories about the United States.

Email [email protected] if you’re curious to learn more!

Connecting the Dots with Baseball and Library Online Resources

After learning that applicants for CCDI opportunities want to know more about the Library digital collections and how to navigate our website, CCDI staff have started a series of posts on the Of the People blog to highlight the Library’s various online resources.

In the first post walks us through her exploration of baseball-related collection items on the Library’s website. Check it out and let the team know what you think in the comments!


LC Labs Experiments

Thousands of sound recordings added to Citizen DJ

Music makers, rejoice! Citizen DJ has added thousands of audio samples from the National Jukebox to its platform. January 2022 marks the month in which many sound recordings published before January 1, 1923 entered the public domain, making them free to use for exploration and remixing!

The selected works come from the collections of the Library of Congress and span a variety of genres from classical and opera, to early jazz and blues, humorous songs, spoken word and even some yodeling. Made in the United States between 1900 and 1921, these recordings represent the vastly diverse and intensely creative artists who played a part in shaping the nation’s recorded sound history and whose legacy lives on through these rare and valuable cultural treasures. Listen to 2020 Innovator in Residence Brian Food discuss this addition to Citizen DJ on WNYC’s “All of It” with Alison Stewart.



  • What’s new online at the Library of Congress: The Signal Blog will share semi-regular updates on what’s newly available in the Library’s digital collections. The series begins with a description of content added in Winter 2021/22, including rare children’s books written in Hebrew or Yiddish, fieldwork documentation from the Pinelands Folklife Project in southern New Jersey, and over 200 new Open Access eBooks.
  • Lionel Richie awarded the Gershwin Prize: pop icon Lionel Richie has been announced as the recipient of this year’s Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. Richie will receive the Gershwin Prize at an all-star tribute concert in Washington, D.C., on March 9. PBS stations will broadcast the concert — “Lionel Richie: The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song” — at 9 p.m. ET on Tuesday, May 17, (check local listings) and on and the PBS Video App.


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