The Newberry Receives $1 Million from The Grainger Foundation for Digital Initiatives

With funds from The Grainger Foundation, the Newberry will explore new possibilities for user engagement and interactivity online.

The Grainger Foundation has made a gift of $1 million to support digital activities that will increase worldwide access to the Newberry collection. This generous grant will enable the library to build on its recent successes promoting user engagement with its growing digital collections, opening new avenues for scholarship, teaching, and information sharing.

“We are grateful to The Grainger Foundation for supporting digital access and innovation at the Newberry,” said Newberry President and Librarian Daniel Greene. “Funding from The Grainger Foundation will allow the Newberry to expand our critical work in digital engagement that is already well under way. We will continue to invest in digital infrastructure and outreach so that people across the globe are able to teach, learn, and create new knowledge using Newberry resources.”

This past year, users in all 50 states and more than 161 countries accessed the Newberry’s collection online, with more than 1.1 million digital images viewed or downloaded. In the fall of 2022, the Newberry debuted a redesigned website and a new digital access management system that has further improved the user experience of finding, viewing, and using Newberry collection items.

With funds from The Grainger Foundation, the Newberry will explore new possibilities for user engagement and interactivity by adding enhanced capabilities to its digital asset management system. Projects in development include public transcription, mapping, and geo-tagging of Newberry materials; walking tours or other site-specific applications based on the Newberry collection; and classroom exercises for K-12 humanities instruction. The Grainger Foundation’s previous grants to the Newberry have supported its Digital Collections for the Classroom site, which provides primary source materials for K-12 classrooms, as well as the work of its conservation department.

Ongoing digitization of collection materials is an important component of the Newberry’s expanding digital initiatives. Funds dedicated to innovation will give the Newberry the flexibility to meet the needs of researchers who must access and utilize critical resources online. The Newberry is now positioned to respond more quickly to user demand by digitizing newly acquired materials with broad public interest. In addition, the Newberry will explore partnerships to pursue creative, ambitious digital projects that build and sustain communities of learning around the library’s collection.

About The Grainger Foundation

The Grainger Foundation, an independent private foundation based in Lake Forest, Illinois, provides support to a broad range of organizations including educational, medical, cultural, and human services institutions. The Grainger Foundation was established in 1949 by William Wallace Grainger, founder of W.W. Grainger, Inc., North America’s leading broad line supplier of maintenance, repair, and operating products (MRO), with operations also in Japan and the United Kingdom.

About the Newberry

The Newberry Library supports and inspires research, teaching, and learning in the humanities. Our collection of books, maps, and archival documents is a portal to more than 600 years of human history, from the 15th century to the present. Under an open access policy, researchers may use digital images from the Newberry collection for any lawful purpose without paying any licensing or permission fees to the library. The Newberry is continually digitizing materials from its collection and making high-resolution images available, free of charge, to users around the world.