I am greatly looking forward to seeing many of you this week at DPLAfest 2017. We are once again sold out, with wonderful hosts from Illinois, a terrific venue provided by the Chicago Public Library, a wide-ranging program, and attendees from around the globe.
In the midst of this excitement, it's hard for me to let you know that this fest will be my last as DPLA's executive director. After four years of working alongside of you, and meeting with many people and organizations around the country and the world to advance DPLA's essential mission of maximizing access to our shared culture, I'll be staying closer to home starting in June, having accepted an exciting offer from Northeastern University to become Vice Provost for Information Collaboration and Dean of Libraries. I'll still be a part of DPLA—but now as one of the thousands of institutions that have banded together to form it.
Over six years ago I went to one of the very first planning meetings for DPLA in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and in October 2012, I joined hundreds of others at Chicago Public Library's Harold Washington Library Center—in very same auditorium in which we will kick off DPLAfest 2017 this year—for the last large-scale meeting before our launch. One could feel the enthusiasm and momentum building. Six months later—four years ago this week—I had the great fortune to become DPLA's founding executive director.
Since then, through the incredible efforts of the DPLA community, we have grown eight-fold in the number of openly available digitized items we present together to the public, almost five-fold in the number of contributing institutions, and we now have an extensive network across the United States. It's been remarkable to see this growth, and to be a part of it. I especially want to highlight and applaud the tireless work of the DPLA staff in establishing and constantly expanding the foundation of our united collection. Working closely with DPLA's board, they will ensure that our progress continues unabated.
As I took the baton in 2013 from DPLA's founders and planners, so do I look forward to handing the baton to a new executive director in the near future, and to watching and contributing to the continued growth of the Digital Public Library of America in the coming years.