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Introducing: The Religion in North Carolina Digital Collection

November 18, 2014

Elizabeth B. DeBold, Project Coordinator
Kenneth J. Woo, Doctoral Fellow for Research and Education

The Religion in North Carolina Digital Collection is a grant-funded project to provide digital access to publications of and about religious bodies in North Carolina. Partner institutions at Duke, UNC, and Wake Forest University, contributed the largest portion of the items in this collection, but the collection is enriched by unique materials from libraries and archives throughout North Carolina. The materials in this collection include local church histories, periodicals, clergy biographies, cookbooks, event programs, directories, and much more from a diverse array of denominations and practices. IMLS is supporting the project through the State Library of North Carolina, a division of the Department of Cultural Resources.

Project Coordinator Elizabeth DeBold with the Religion in NC poster display at the 2014 Duke University TechExpo.

Dr. Beth M. Sheppard at the Duke Divinity Library leads the project with staff support from Wake Forest and UNC.  The effort aims create a digital collection that reflects the diversity and complex history of faith and practice in the state, and to connect with groups outside of Christianity, including Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish, Pagan, and Muslim faiths. While the majority of North Carolinians identify with mainstream Protestant denominations, our staff has worked diligently to develop a collection that is inclusive of as many North Carolinian religious bodies as possible across different cultures, races, ethnicities, and traditions. You can find all of this and more in the collection itself at

Doctoral Fellow Ken Woo leading a community education program at the Chatham Community Library in Pittsboro, NC.

Support for the collection has been broad and enthusiastic. Community education programs aimed at public library audiences across the state are well attended, with those coming out to hear about the collection leaving with tools and inspiration for their own projects. The project has prompted additional research with a mini-grants competition. Grants were awarded to 12 scholars who will spend the coming year engaging in research using resources contained in the Religion in North Carolina Digital Collection.

In addition to these grants, the project is awarding project collaboration grants to Jill Crainshaw, Wake Forest University Divinity School (Winston-Salem, NC) and Chaitra M. Powell, Southern Historical Collection at UNC-CH (Chapel Hill, NC) for the coming year.

Now in our final year of planned funding for the project, we’re pleased to have created a dynamic collection that we feel will be of great and continued value to the communities with which we have worked. Many thanks to the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the State Library of North Carolina, and the many, many institutions and individuals with whom we have collaborated, and who have been so generous in giving their time and resources to preserve this important history and culture.

Grants to State Library Administrative Agencies