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HPL treasure trove of historical drama books goes digital

HPL treasure trove of historical drama books goes digital

Hamilton Public Library has found a world stage for more than 1,000 books it previously held about 18th and 19th Century theatre. The recent donation to the Internet Archive gives readers all around the world online access to the soon-to-be digitized collection.

The Internet Archive is a digital library that provides free public access to collections of digitized materials, including websites, software applications/games, music, movies/videos, moving images and millions of books.

“Through our partnership, we are so appreciative the Internet Archive is able to make the collection available to the world 24/7,” said Lisa Radha Weaver, Director of Collections and Program Development at HPL.

The rich array of books, given to HPL in 1984 by a university drama professor, details elements such as lighting and staging, history of traveling troupes, scenic design, actors and playwrights and architecture of British and American theatres.

“This helps achieve one of the original promises of the internet, as a vehicle for democratizing thought — making knowledge as broadly accessible as possible by removing geographical and physical barriers,” said Ryan Johnston, HPL’s archivist.

“We are delighted to receive this donation of theatre books from Hamilton Public Library. Having the full, curated collection to preserve and digitize means readers all around the world will have access to a comprehensive set of resources, built with care by librarians and subject specialists,” said Brewster Kahle, founder and digital librarian, Internet Archive.

After the books are digitized, the print copies will be put in long-term storage and the digital books will be made available through controlled digital lending.

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