Call for Editorial Board Members: The Literary and Cultural Heritage Maps of Pennsylvania (“the project”) is a digital humanities project and reference source developed and maintained by the Pennsylvania Center for the Book (PACFTB, a state affiliate of the Library of Congress Center for the Book) within the Education Library at Penn State’s University Park campus. It currently consists of a database of approximately 1,000 biographies of literary and cultural figures who are connected to Pennsylvania, about 300 feature articles concerning Pennsylvania cultural history topics, plus a Literary Heritage Map, a Cultural Heritage Map, and other maps that present similar information geospatially. Elementary and secondary curricula are being developed to encourage educational use of the sites.  

After undertaking significant technological upgrades, PACFTB is now poised to assess and enhance the project’s content. Originating as a paper-based map in the 1950s and significantly expanded about a decade ago, many of the existing biographies need to be revised. PACFTB also wants to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) on the sites by adding more biographies of women, people of color, and other historically excluded/underrepresented groups, and involving more authors outside of University Park. PACFTB would also like to review existing authorship/editorial documentation, keeping in mind DEI and the empowerment of new writers. Thus PACFTB is seeking 10-15 Editorial Board members with regional, subject, and population expertise to assist in this exciting new phase of the project’s development.  

Editorial Board members’ duties are as follows: 

  • Assist PACFTB faculty and staff in identifying and prioritizing literary and cultural topics, categories, and figures to be added to project. 
  • Author or update 5-10 biographies or feature articles per year according to the project’s inclusion criteria and style guide; or substantially contribute to other written materials pertaining to the project. Year 1 is likely to focus more heavily on revising existing entries.  
  • Assist in assessing and evaluating the Literary and Cultural Heritage Maps project’s websites and advise PACFTB faculty and staff about opportunities for enhancement. 
  • Review existing inclusion criteria, style guides, and other documentation about the project and advise PACFTB faculty and staff about necessary or desirable revisions. 
  • Assist other authors in using primary and secondary information sources, both at Penn State and in other libraries/repositories pertaining to one’s assigned geographic regions, chronological periods, and/or populations of expertise. 
  • Identify opportunities within one’s campus for engaging faculty, staff, and upper-level students as authors; communicate the project’s purpose, priorities, and procedures to them; and assist PACFTB faculty and staff in reviewing authors’ contributions to the project. 
  • Identify other potential authors within one’s region; communicate the project’s purpose, priorities, and procedures to them; and assist PACFTB faculty and staff in reviewing authors’ contributions to the project. 
  • Assist PACFTB faculty and staff in reviewing other incoming submissions pertaining to one’s assigned geographic regions, chronological periods, and/or populations of expertise. 
  • Notify PACFTB faculty and staff of, and assist with, opportunities to promote the project to educators, public librarians, historical society employees, and other potential users within one’s assigned geographic regions, chronological periods, and/or populations of expertise. 
  • Attend meetings (held virtually, approximately once per month) and assist with other aspects of the project upon request of the project’s faculty leader (Bernadette A. Lear)  
  • Maintain one’s knowledge of Pennsylvania history, literature, culture, populations, and scholarship by engaging in relevant educational activities or professional development opportunities.  

Terms of initial board members will be staggered to ensure continuity. Each Editorial Board member will serve an initial term of 2 or 3 years (September 1, 2021-August 31, 2023, or September 1, 2021-August 31, 2024), with the possibility of reappointment for additional 2-year terms. Each member will be assigned several Pennsylvania counties contiguous to their location; counties pertaining to their research interests; chronological periods; populations; and/or subject areas of expertise. There is potential for overlapping or shared coverage, especially for Philadelphia/Delaware County/Montgomery County; Pittsburgh/Allegheny County; other heavily populated areas; and populations or subject areas of high interest or need.  

If interested, contact Bernadette A. Lear (, Affiliate Faculty of the PACFTB, no later than Friday, August 20th. Please include a brief statement indicating your interest, education, and professional background related to History, Humanities, Geography, development/review of reference sources, editorial work, and other topics related to the project. Also, please indicate which Pennsylvania counties, major cities, chronological periods, topics, and populations are of greatest interest to you. As currently configured, the sites highlight: 

  • Cultural Subjects:  Activism, Art and Design, Athletics, Business, Education, Entertainment, Law and Politics, Medicine, Military, “Notorious,” Religion, and Science 
  • Cultural Periods: Before 1600, 1600-1775, 1775-1800, 1800-1865, 1865-1900, 1900-1945, 1945-preent 
  • Literary Genres: Children’s, Fiction, Young Adult, Graphic/Comic, Journalism, Nonfiction, Oral Tradition, and Screenwriting/Playwriting 
  • Literary Periods: Before 1600, Colonial, Revolutionary, Romanticism, Realism, Modernism, and Contemporary 

Feel free to share this opportunity with your colleagues and networks. Thanks for your interest!

Bernadette A. Lear (she/her/hers/Ms.)
Behavioral Sciences and Education Librarian, Harrisburg
Affiliate Faculty, Education Library and Pennsylvania Center for the Book, University Park – 717-948-6360

Co-Editor of Libraries: Culture, History, and Society

Contributor to the Literary and Cultural Heritage Maps of Pennsylvania