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Library Collaboration to Focus on Bethlehem's Moravian history
Commonwealth Libraries of Pennsylvania has awarded a $71,670 federal Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) NETShare to Reeves Library, Moravian College and the Bethlehem Area Public Library for a joint project to provide easy access to a wealth of information about Bethlehem's first one hundred years and its Moravian heritage. The Commonwealth Libraries of Pennsylvania, which has funded the Project, administer this federal LSTA NETShare grant.
Appropriately titled, "Bethlehem Digital History Project" this venture will ultimately feature relevant but currently inaccessible material owned by several institutions. The project will focus on the contributions of the Moravians during the early years of the city's history. It will be available on the project’s new web page and provide access to information concerning the industrial, social and economic contributions of the Moravians as revealed through primary sources.
The first phase of this ambitious project will be the formation of a team to develop the web page. A project director will work with Vernon H. Nelson, Archivist of the Moravian Archives, faculty from the Moravian College History Department, faculty of the Moravian Theological Seminary, and information and cataloging librarians from both Reeves Library and Bethlehem Area Public Library. Key materials will be selected to tell about Bethlehem's early years and develop the means to provide digital access to the interested public.
The "Bethlehem Digital History Project" will lay the foundation for an ongoing effort that will continue well beyond the grant year. The recipient libraries will be able to add digital images of materials indefinitely. They will also be able to develop related material to make the information both interesting and entertaining to the general public, local school children as well as the serious researcher.
While the federal grant covers all monetary outlays of the project, Moravian students and other volunteers will contribute time to the project. Additionally, Moravian College is donating the Internet domain name as well as the Internet and telephone connections. Reeves Library will house the team during the grant year.