Duke Divinity School has been awarded a $125,000 federal grant for the Divinity School Library to continue its work in the Religion in North Carolina Digital Collection project. The 2014-2015 LSTA Project Access & Digitization Grant will help fund the ongoing work of collecting, preserving, and providing digital access to the primary materials of religious bodies in North Carolina.

The project makes available in digital form ephemera that would otherwise be difficult to access.The digital collection, now online, highlights and provides new insights into the religious diversity of North Carolina through primary source materials that have previously been difficult for researchers to access.

The more than 8,000 volumes of materials that will be included represent every county in the state and include historical documents from local religious bodies, church histories, clergy biographical materials, newsletters, conference reports, sermons, and ephemeral publications.

The project, which began in 2012, is a collaboration between Duke University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Wake Forest University. Materials are being digitized primarily from the collections of project partners but also include unique items from over 200 public, university, and college libraries and archives in North Carolina and elsewhere.

The collection includes meeting records and other organizational documents."There has been considerable interest in how the collection preserves and enhances access to the narratives of individuals and communities that might otherwise be lost or forgotten," said Ken Woo, doctoral fellow for research and education for the project. "Current outreach efforts are focused on building bridges with groups within and outside academia. Community education programs scheduled for libraries in Chatham, Granville, Durham, and Haywood counties will focus on the stories preserved in the collection for present and future generations."

LSTA funds awarded by the State Library of North Carolina are made possible through funding from the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act as administered by the State Library of North Carolina, a division of the Department of Cultural Resources.