Louisiana Digital Library Fest Celebrates State’s Cultural Digital Heritage

a group of people seated indoors

LDL Fest workshop participants

LSU Libraries recently hosted a celebration of Louisiana’s rich cultural heritage, bringing together librarians, content administrators, educators, and researchers from across the state. The three-day event was the first biannual Louisiana Digital Library (LDL) Fest, held on May 17-19, 2023, at the State Library of Louisiana in downtown Baton Rouge. The LDL is an online library of more than 400,000 digital items from Louisiana archives, libraries, museums, and other repositories, making unique historical treasures accessible worldwide to students, researchers, and the public.

During the three-day event, attendees participated in workshops and presentations focused on digital scholarship, including skills and tools that researchers can use in conjunction with digital collections during their

a woman stands at a podium in front of a crowd. The screen behind her shows a slide of a newspaper clipping that reads US to Frustrate Escape of Lepers, public health service takes precautions to guard against threatened invasion

Pam Fessler, recently retired NPR correspondent and editor, provides the opening keynote talk. She presents her research related to the former Hansen’s Disease Center located in Carville, Louisiana.


Keynote speakers included Pam Fessler, former NPR correspondent, and Jessica Marie Johnson, associate professor of history at Johns Hopkins University—both researchers who have used the LDL in their own work.

In addition, LDL content administrators worked together to develop fresh goals and priorities that will allow the LDL to better serve its users and administrators.

The event afforded Louisiana library professionals and researchers a unique opportunity to connect with each other and envision an exciting future for the state’s digital cultural heritage.


Four people on stage in front of a crowd. Three are seated at a long table and in discussion

From left to right: S.K. Groll, Alexis Pregeant, and Jacob Gautreaux discuss their research.

The LDL Fest was funded in part by a 2022 Rebirth Grant, provided by the State of Louisiana and administered by the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities. Additional support was provided by 64 Parishes, Amistad Research Center, Louisiana State Museum, Louisiana Archives & Manuscripts Association, Louisiana Digital Consortium, McNeese State University, Solidarity History Initiative, State Library of Louisiana, and Tulane Libraries.

A woman speaks at a podium

Jessica Marie Johnson, Associate Professor in the Department of History at Johns Hopkins University, provides the closing keynote talk, “The Digital Humanities Against Enclosure.”

Four women speak and gesture to sticky notes on a window. Louisiana's Capitol Building can be seen through the window.

LDL content administrators divide into small groups to brainstorm ideas for developing the digital library

A group of people indoors and seated in a U-shaped table.

LDL content administrators discuss goals for the future of the Louisiana Digital Library

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