A $30,000 planning grant from the State Library of North Carolina will fund the Duke Divinity School Library’s effort to archive publications from the state’s churches and other religious bodies.
The Religion in North Carolina Digital Collection, a joint project with the libraries at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Wake Forest University, will use the grant funds to develop a list of titles to be digitized and made freely available.
These materials are critical primary sources in research, said Andy Keck, associate director of the Divinity School Library and project manager.
“While some nationally produced materials are widely held, the works published by local or regional religious bodies can be quite rare among libraries,” he said.
“The local church history, for example, is often self-published for members of the congregation, yet indispensable for describing the development of a community, documenting involvement with other religious institutions and communities, illustrating struggles with broader societal events or issues, and illuminating particular religious disputes.”
The grant will make it possible to identify titles located in the Divinity School Library and other libraries across the state, said Keck, and to seek permission to digitize copyrighted works. The collection will include the histories of local religious bodies and publications of larger North Carolina denominations or cooperative networks. The libraries plan eventually to provide digital access and tools for searching across these significant works.
The EZ LSTA (Library Services and Technology Act) Planning Grant is administered through the State Library of North Carolina, a division of the Department of Cultural Resources. To learn more, contact Andy Keck  at (919) 660-3549.