Innovations and partnerships

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The Penn Libraries has built on a rich history of leading the way in innovations that benefit our constituents. Penn’s contributions to massive open online courses have thrust new approaches to teaching and learning into the spotlight. Across campus, our learning communities are experimenting with new pedagogical methods, technologies, teaching programs and classroom design.

Special recognition is given here to the individuals and families who spark innovation in teaching, research and learning at the Penn Libraries through their leadership support of our mission.

Awardees from the 2017 group

Hoesley Digital Literacy Program

Application Deadline: July 19, 2021

The Penn Libraries welcomes rising juniors and seniors to apply for the Hoesley Digital Literacy Fellows Program. Partially funded by a generous gift from Board Member Jim Hoesley and his wife Sandee Hoesley, and conducted in collaboration with Career Services, the School of Arts and Sciences, and the Center for Undergraduate Research and Fellowships (CURF), this program encourages creative exploration of technologies commonly used in our rapidly evolving 21st century workplace and beyond. Throughout the experience, Fellows will receive hands-on training and support as they develop a professional website and career-related digital project of their choice.

Chris Lippa talks to students around a SCETI camera

SCETI: Schoenberg Center for Electronic Text and Image

In 1996, the Penn Libraries launched SCETI with financial support from Larry Schoenberg (C'53, WG'56) and his wife Barbara Brizdle, both members of the Libraries' Board of Overseers. There are 13th-century Arabic manuscripts on anatomy, historical papers from the Civil War, sound clips of Marian Anderson, recordings of Yiddish folk singers, online tutorials, multimedia exhibits - some 79,000 graphical and sound files in all that document 1,500 years of human culture.

Visit the SCETI homepage.

Seltzer awardees podcasting in the WIC seminar room

Seltzer Family Digital Media Awards

The Seltzer Family Digital Media Awards program is open to applications from all Penn undergraduate students with special consideration for students enrolled in the Huntsman Program.  Thanks to the generosity of Jeff Seltzer W'78 and his wife Annie, the award provides up to $1,000 for the purchase of equipment (both hardware and software) and supplies to support a new media project for up to one year. (After one year, equipment purchased through the award will return to the Weigle Information Commons for general use.) Examples of items that could support new media projects include: digital videocameras, audio recorders, virtual reality camera peripherals, microphones, scanners, mobile devices, and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) devices.

A class in Vitale II

Alberto & Gioietta Vitale Media Lab

The Lab offers training and equipment for groups working together with digital media - including video, audio, imaging, and web publishing. The Lab is attended by staff who know the equipment and the craft.

Visit the blog of the Alberto & Gioietta Vitale Media Lab


Scott Enderle leads a class in the WIC seminar room

David B. Weigle Information Commons

September, 2005: The University of Pennsylvania has announced the creation of a new and innovative resource that will enhance the learning experience of students across several dimensions. The David B. Weigle Information Commons is a joint undertaking by the School of Arts and Sciences and the University Library that will support undergraduates as they conduct research and experiment with technology and collaborative learning. The Commons was made possible by a $1 million gift from Penn alumnus David B. Weigle, Wharton 1969.

"David's vision splendidly supports our efforts to foster collaborative educational enterprises across the University," Penn President Amy Gutmann said. "We are grateful for his support and leadership on this cutting-edge and multi-faceted project."

For more information about the Libraries and how you can support Library resources and programs, please contact our office at