Micro-Grant Updates


Micro-Grant Check-In

The Micro-Grant program has awarded over $1 million dollars to state and local governments across Colorado. Take a minute to read about past Micro-Grant projects.

Colorado Historical Maps - Jerry Crail Johnson Earth Sciences & Map Library at CU Boulder

The map collection located at the Jerry Crail Johnson Earth Sciences & Map Library at CU Boulder is as impressive online as it is offline. Over the past years, the map library has been working to expand the reach of their historical maps, for use not only by CU students and faculty, but also for the state and beyond. The map library has focused their efforts on making their online library as vast and informational as their physical library - so in 2017, after hearing about the SIPA Micro-Grant, they decided to submit the project: Colorado Historical Maps.

A year after receiving the Micro-Grant funds (a 2016 grant cycle recipient), the virtual maps library launched newly scanned historical maps of Colorado, created and published by Louis Nell. You can see the maps here. The Nell maps, scanned and made available online through the SIPA Micro-Grant, are currently receiving the most use of any digital collection at the library and are an example of how the map library at CU Boulder is making a point to put information and resources online that their community is asking for and impatient to engage with.

Naomi Heiser, the Map Library Cataloguing Manager was able to speak to the effectiveness of the grant, "The grant allowed us to put up some of our most unique historical maps at a time when we had to outsource scanning the maps. On top of that, one of the best parts about the grant process was attending the User Conference and being a part of the community. Listening to the other project ideas and presentations was also valuable and gives us ideas for future grant projects.”

While the Nell’s maps certainly aren’t the only maps available from the library, they were a priority set for online because of their uniqueness as a near complete group of published works. The Rocky Mountain Map Society, the local history of cartography group in Denver was instrumental in encouraging the digitization of the Nell maps, as well as others held only by the map library at CU Boulder. The digitization has ushered a number of excited researchers and educators to the (online) library: namely those trying to understand the mining and agricultural history of Colorado over many years, the changes in landscape, or the presence of certain groups across Colorado counties.

Ultimately the Jerry Crail Johnson Earth Sciences &, Map Library at CU Boulder is trying to do exactly what SIPA aims to do - put more information online in a useable and intuitive way. By digitizing information, these maps are available anytime and anywhere, and to anyone including classrooms across the state, and educators and researchers across the country.

People across the state of Colorado use the Colorado Historical Maps Collection for a variety of things, namely:

  • Genealogy research
  • K-12 classroom curriculum
  • CU classroom education
  • Place-name changes
  • Historical land use
  • Historical transportation routes
  • Geographical details and changes

Durango TV - The City of Durango

DurangoGov TV(DGOV) is an online communication channel created to keep residents and visitors to Durango and surrounding counties, such as La Plata, Montezuma, and Dolores, informed and up-to-date. The channel has a variety of offerings - everything from council meetings to economic development to interviews with government employees to community events.The award helped improved the reach, accessibility, and sustainability of DGOV. The City of Durango's use of the Micro-Grant epitomizes SIPA's mission to assist governments in putting more information and services online. 
Mitchell Carter, Public Information Specialist for the City of Durango, said that the DGOV team was encouraged by other departments in the city to apply for a grant and that "the process was straightforward. The questions really made us think about how we should spend the money if we were to receive it." Carter went on to say, "During the 416 fire, we saw a significant spike in online viewership.” Having made community information awareness, safety, and engagement the top priorities this year, the DGOV team’s dedication to informing the public has paid off.
Effectively and efficiently connecting with residents is an important initiative for any municipality. Carter mentioned that DGOV is always working towards the newest technology and adapting to change to diminish outage time and increase awareness of local emergencies. "Today, it takes a multi-faceted approach to communicate effectively with your community," Cater says, "you cannot have 'all your eggs in one basket."
It is for their dynamic approach to community engagement that the City of Durango has been named a finalist for the 2018, "Best Use of Social Media" award from the National Association of Telecommunication Officers and Advisors (NATOA). Being named a finalist is an awesome shout-out from the national community on a job well done, and Mitchell Carter seems aptly excited. “We take pride in the fact that a small, local government, such as Durango, can stand out from the crowd and be recognized nationally. We strive for a consistent message across our social media accounts, our website, on DGOV, and the one-on-one conversations while we are out in the public. It is important for the citizens to know how their local government functions, and what services are provided by their tax dollars.” Find more information about the City of Durango here.

TechTuesdays - Lyons Regional Library District

Being a small mountain community, the Lyons Regional Library District is the technology and information services hub of its area. The district discovered SIPA’s Micro-Grant program while searching for ways to promote and expand the library’s technology services. The district decided that the best way to encourage people to engage with the library’s tech services was to promote them where their community gathered like coffee shops, festivals, concerts and pub trivia nights. By doing this, the library was able to bring the information to residents and encourage people to learn how to use offerings if they did not already know how. "Giving members of the community the confidence to learn about technology was a major piece to growing our program," said Technology Librarian Ian Hawley. " Once they felt good about using the library as an informational portal, they had the credibility to tell other people to do so."
The outreach program was a huge success! Before the grant, the district had not been seeing high use rates of their website, online catalog or in-library computers. There are now lines for the 5 in-library computers, a higher number of e-books downloaded, double the visitors to their online catalog as well as to their website, and far more one-on-one appointments looking to learn about the technologies available to them.
"The community needs somewhere to turn for tech related things," said Hawley. "The library can offer an online catalog and e-books, but sometimes a patron might not know how to access the web or where to make an email account. In this case, technology education is so important to provide when you are expecting patrons to utilize library technologies."
The SIPA Micro-Grant acts as an arm of SIPA's mission: to assist governments in putting more information and services online. It exists to build bridges between the needs of communities and the proactive projects to support those needs. "Working with the SIPA grant has been great,” said Hawley. “We are a small library with 6 staff members and an incredibly limited budget and the Micro-Grant gave us the opportunity to inform, and continue to inform, our community about our resources and how to utilize them.” The Lyons Regional Library is an example of libraries acting as information centers, community centers, and technology facilities and their Tech Thursday initiative has brought people online, that might not be online otherwise, to use services and access information.
Learn about library events here.
Note: Tech Thursday (one-on-one) appointments are 1 hour long when made ahead of time and walk-in appointments are 30 minutes. You can make a Tech Thursday appointment ahead of time by calling or emailing the library.

Collections Management and Registration Department - History Colorado

This article was submitted by:
Bethany Williams, Collections Manager, History Colorado
Veronica Rascona, Intern
Heather Christenbury, Intern
History Colorado houses thousands of archaeological artifacts from over 20 different historic sites including houses, stage stations, and fortified strongholds across the state of Colorado. The artifacts provide insight into life during the early settlement period of the state. In 2017, the Collections Department at History Colorado was awarded a grant by the Statewide Internet Portal Authority (SIPA) to increase digital access to the museum’s historical archaeology collections via the collections portal (h-co.org/collections).
Based on the needs of the museum, the historical archaeology collection was chosen as the focal point of this project because the information about the collection was only available as handwritten records, making them virtually inaccessible. The primary project goal was to establish digital access to the information and artifacts related to these historic sites for the public, staff, and researchers. The grant funded internships for two Collections Specialists, Heather Christenbury and Veronica Rascona, to carry out the project over the summer of 2018.
The project began by generating searchable artifact inventories, site summaries, and database records for the History Colorado collections database and the Office of Archaeology and Historic Preservation database. This data was added to the online collection portal, granting the public and researchers from around the globe digital access to information about the artifacts.
During the project, representative artifacts were photographed for the first time, storage locations were documented, and inventory discrepancies were resolved. This collective information was then added to the History Colorado collections database resulting in more comprehensive and functional records. The newly digitized material improves the museum’s ability to track locations and object conditions as well as better reflect an accurate inventory of the artifacts.
The funding awarded by SIPA allowed for the digitization of over 325 records of historical archaeological material representing more than 10,500 artifacts. Database cleanup during the project led to an additional 5,000 archaeology records becoming discoverable online via the portal. Results of the SIPA sponsored project can be viewed in the History Colorado online collections portal at h-co.org/collectionsor read about it from the blog on the History Colorado website here.
General Pages of Interest at History Colorado:
Research and Learn:
Archaeology, History, and Preservation at History Colorado: