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Boston Public Library Partners-in-Residence

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Digital Public Library of America and Internet Archive share vision to increase access

Partners250pxBoston Public Library (BPL) has two partners-in-residence at its Copley Square location that represent a continuing, collaborative commitment to expanding information access to all. The Internet Archive and Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) operate on the third floor of the BPL’s Johnson Building at 700 Boylston Street. The partners are located near Boston Public Library’s technical services team, enabling strategic proximity to the library’s digital resources.  

“Our shared goal is to increase awareness of and access to collections. We want materials and opportunities for learning to be discovered and enjoyed by the widest audience possible,” said Amy E. Ryan, President of the Boston Public Library. “Our partnerships with Internet Archive and the Digital Public Library of America reflect the great collaborative nature of institutions that work to share information with people throughout the world.”

Boston Public Library began working with the Internet Archive in 2007. Internet Archive ( is a nonprofit digital library offering permanent access for researchers, historians, and the general public to historical collections that exist in digital format. The Internet Archive includes texts, audio, moving images, and software as well as archived web pages. It also provides specialized services for adaptive reading and information access for the blind and other persons with disabilities. The Internet Archive scans and digitizes select bound materials for Boston Public Library, including the John Adams Library, one of the BPL’s Collections of Distinction. A current project is the digitization of the BPL’s Shakespeare collection.

“The Internet Archive is proud of its long collaboration with the Boston Public Library,” said Brewster Kahle, Founder and Digital Librarian of Internet Archive. “Our organizations are both committed to leveraging technology to create increased, permanent access to cultural artifacts and historical collections and doing so in an open way that helps foster education and discovery.”

The Digital Public Library of America ( develops systems to share digital content from American libraries, archives, museums, historical societies, and other community centers in a centralized, online environment. The DPLA offers a single point of access to millions of items—photographs, manuscripts, books, sounds, moving images, and more.

Boston Public Library is a digital service hub for the DPLA, assisting other organizations across the state in having their materials digitized and integrated into DPLA databases. Recent digitized items for inclusion in DPLA include more than 50 yearbooks and town reports from public libraries in Massachusetts and historic photographs from the Lawrence History Center.

“It is wonderful to be located within the Boston Public Library, as we share the same mission as the BPL: to democratize access to knowledge,” said Dan Cohen, Executive Director of the Digital Public Library of America. “Our staff is energized every morning walking into the library, drawing strength from the people and content around us, and the BPL staff who are helping us bring America’s collections online.”

The Boston Public Library system includes a Central Library, twenty-four branches, map center, business library, and a website filled with digital content and services. Established in 1848, the Boston Public Library has pioneered public library service in America. It was the first publicly supported municipal library in America, the first public library to lend books, the first to have a branch library, and the first to have a children’s room. Each year, the Boston Public Library hosts thousands of programs and serves millions of people. All of its programs and exhibitions are free and open to the public. At the Boston Public Library, books are just the beginning. To learn more, visit


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