Applications Open for Civic Switchboard Institute in Chapel Hill!

Through the support of the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), we are pleased to be hosting six regional and one online Civic Switchboard Institutes in 2024.

Applications are now open for the first of the regional Institutes in Chapel Hill on May 13-14, 2024! Participants who are traveling from outside of Chapel Hill are eligible to receive an honorarium to offset travel expenses.

Applications to the Chapel Hill Institute are due on March 14 (if space allows, we will accept applications following this date). We will notify applicants of application decisions on March 15.

Please complete the online Application Form to apply. A pdf of the application is available as a download to review.

About the Civic Switchboard Institute

The Civic Switchboard Institute in Chapel Hill will bring together 20 library workers interested in serving as intermediaries between community members and civic data and developing civic data roles for their libraries.

There are several goals for the regional Civic Switchboard Institutes, including:

  • To expand a community of practice focused on libraries and civic data and connect regional library workers;
  • To support participants in understanding their civic data ecosystem and potential roles for their libraries;
  • To connect participants with exemplars of library civic data intermediary work by featuring the work of host sites;
  • To foster critical data literacies through engagement with topics in civic data that speak to power, social justice, and responsible data practices to mitigate harms.

The Institute is designed around several hands-on activities that will help participants get a better handle on their own civic data ecosystems, design local roles, and learn from peers from across the region.

For the Chapel Hill Institute in May, we are excited to be partnering with colleagues at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill: Dr. Alexandra Chassanoff, Assistant Professor at the School of Information and Library Science, and Amanda Henley, Head of Digital Research Services at the UNC Libraries. Alex is part of the Hacking into History project, a community-driven effort to tell the story and impact of racially restrictive agreements contained in property deeds in Durham, North Carolina, using public records information and archival documentation and Amanda is the Principal Investigator of the On the Books: Jim Crow and Algorithms of Resistance project, a “collections as data and machine learning project…with the goal of discovering Jim Crow and racially-based legislation signed into law in North Carolina between Reconstruction and the Civil Rights Movement (1866/67-1967).” Through the Civic Switchboard Institute, participants will have an opportunity to learn about the On the Books project, an example of a civic data and libraries project.


All library workers based in the United States are eligible to apply. Attendees can be from public, academic, government, or another type of library. Civic Switchboard has planned multiple regional institutes to make attendance more accessible. While we expect many participants will choose to apply to the institute that is geographically closest to them, regional proximity is not a requirement of eligibility.

Participants must be able to attend both days of the Institute.

Please see the application for additional information about our review criteria and contact the Civic Switchboard Team with any questions:

Schedule for the Regional and Online Institutes

Applications for more regional Civic Switchboard Institutes and the online Institute will open in the upcoming weeks and months!

We are pleased to be working with partners at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Leventhal Map & Education Center at the Boston Public Library, Portland State University, the University of Notre Dame, and Rice University to host a series of Institutes around the country.

  • April 18-19, 2024 : Pittsburgh, PA Institute (Applications now open)
  • May 13-14, 2024: Chapel Hill, NC Institute (Applications now open)
  • June 27-28, 2024: Boston, MA Institute (Applications will open March 8)
  • July 11-12, 2024: Portland, OR Institute (Applications will open March 22)
  • August 1-2, 2024: South Bend, IN Institute (Applications will open April 12)
  • October 17-18, 2024: Houston, TX Institute (Applications will open June 28)
  • November 7 and 14, 2024: Online Institute (Applications will open July 19)

Stay Engaged!

We hope you will join us for a Civic Switchboard Institute and community of practice programming.

Sign up for the Civic Data Operators Discussion Group to receive email updates about the Institutes and future dates for the community calls!