The Ohio Digital Network

The Mansfield/Richland County Public Library has recently joined the Ohio Digital Network which acts as a service hub for the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA).  Led by the State Library of Ohio and in partnership with Ohio Library and Information Network (OhioLINK), Ohio Public Library Information Network (OPLIN), and Ohio History Connection, the Ohio Digital Network builds on strong digital collection efforts across the state including the Mansfield/Richland County Public Library, Ohio Memory, and the Ohio Digitization Hubs project. MRCPL is one of the 24 Ohio libraries and cultural institutions members with collections in the Ohio Digital Network. The 233,841 items in collections shared by the Ohio Digital Network represent stories that are both unique to Ohioans and part of our shared national story.   As a part of DPLA, students and teachers, researchers, and history buffs can now explore all of these rich collections from across the state in one place alongside over 40 million resources from the growing DPLA network of partners.

The collections shared by members of the Ohio Digital Network represent stories that are both unique to Ohioans and part of our shared national story. Materials such as wartime propaganda posters and oral histories about the May 4, 1970 Kent State shooting shed light on turning point moments in twentieth-century history. Collections on Latino-American experiences in rural Knox County and on Ohio’s LGBT communities represent the lives, work, and relationships of local Ohioans, and ensure that the stories, voices, and experiences of these communities are captured as part of our national heritage. Ohio Digital Network also brings unique materials for gaming (old school, that is) and ornithology enthusiasts too—the history of chess and checkers collection and John James Audubon’s beautiful bird illustrations are not to be missed.

Check out the MRCPL Collection here.

The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County’s World War II poster collection joins a rich body of wartime posters in DPLA. One of the strengths of this collection is the collection of international posters, like this poster designed to recruit women for factory work. The poster was published in London during World War II.

On May 4, 1970, members of the Ohio National Guard opened fire on unarmed college students at Kent State University protesting the Vietnam War, killing four and injuring nine. The Kent State Shootings Oral History collection features over 125 interviews with former students, professors, law enforcement officers, local residents, and others about the experience of and impact of the shootings. Randy Gardner, a student at Kent State and eyewitness to the shootings, recalls his sense of shock as the shooting began:

“They got to the top of that rise, and they just kind of in unison turned around and just started shooting. And it was just—it was like you never gave thought to what’s in their guns. Did they really have bullets? We didn’t know. I don’t think we gave it that much thought. I don’t know why we didn’t. But it was like disbelief that they were shooting—the shock, everything, you know. But when somebody’s pointing a rifle at you and shooting, it’s no time to ask questions.”

Shared in partnership with Ohio History Connection, the Gay Ohio History Initiative collection documents organizing and activism within Ohio’s gay and lesbian communities during the 1980s and 1990s. In this photograph, members of the Stonewall Union Columbus chapter participate in the National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights in 1987.

Kenyon College’s Latinos in Rural America (LiRA) collection captures the stories of Latino-American residents of Knox County, Ohio. Through oral history interviews, photographs, and a bilingual exhibit, the project documents the lives, aspirations, and cultural identities of Latino Americans from different stages of life and socioeconomic backgrounds. José Ávalos, pictured here in his restaurant in Mount Vernon, Ohio, emigrated from Mexico and discusses his efforts to ensure that his children feel connected to their Mexican heritage.

For the game-lovers and strategists among us, check out Cleveland Public Library’s collection on the history of chess and checkers, which includes books dating to the sixteenth century, portraits of champion players, manuscripts, and more. In this photograph, Cuban chess prodigy José Raúl Capablanca plays forty games of chess simultaneously as part of an exhibition at the Manhattan Chess Club in 1922. His opponent at this board was 14-year-old David Warburgh of the Stuyvesant High School Chess Club.

Finally, ornithologists and nature art and illustration fans will want to explore the John James Audubon Birds of America collection from the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County. The collection includes 435 plates from Audubon’s landmark publication, The Birds of America, which was published between 1827 and 1838, and documents the bird species of North America, including the Carolina Turtle Dove.

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