From all of us at the Digital Public Library of America, our hearts go out to those affected by the terrible events in Boston yesterday.
The tragedy took place right in front of the Boston Public Library, where we planned to have our gala launch on Thursday. I have been in touch with Amy Ryan, the President of the BPL, and I extended our sympathies to the BPL staff and their loved ones.
We have all been looking forward to this week’s festivities, to celebrate how thousands of people and institutions have come together to build the DPLA, to thank our incredibly generous contributors and funders, and to mark the DPLA’s transition from vision to reality.
Unfortunately, I no longer think it is possible to hold those events this week. The area around the BPL has been closed off, perhaps for several days, and it is not easy to relocate such a large-scale meeting. But logistics are the least of my concerns. People need time to mourn and to get resettled. Amy’s staff, like so many other honorable public servants in Boston, have to be there for the surrounding community first.
I am very sorry to those who planned to attend Thursday and Friday. Airlines and hotels have been forgiving about rescheduling; I hope by making this decision rapidly it will be possible for all attendees to rework their travel easily. For those of you with questions about this process, please see the DPLA launch section of this website.
I do not have the exact details yet, but we have already begun to plan an even larger event for the fall, one that will highlight our continued growth and emergence from the beta phase, and that also can serve as our first annual DPLAfest. This week’s event had been filled to capacity for weeks, with hundreds of people on the waiting list; we will use this time to see what we can do to accommodate even more people in the fall. We want to thank everyone for their great interest in the DPLA.
The new DPLA site will still go live at noon ET on Thursday as planned, and we look forward to sharing the riches of America’s libraries, archives, and museums. Although we have canceled all of the formal events, DPLA staff will be available all day online, and informally in person in the late afternoon in the Boston area (at a location to be determined), for those taking their first look.
I see the building of a new library as one of the greatest examples of what humans can do together to extend the light against the darkness. In due time, we will let that light shine through.