May 18, 2022

IMLS Awards Funding For Library Projects to Brooklyn Public, U. of Washington iSchool, COSLA, and ALA

Several grant award announcement from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS)

1. Brooklyn Public Library Receives $250,000 IMLS Grant to Support Development and Pilot of Library Digital Badging System

Brooklyn Public is partnering with BiblioCommons to develop the system. Once the software is developed the pilot will run at several public libraries (listed below).

The project will result in the technical infrastructure needed for participating libraries to offer digital badge-based programs through which library customers can access, manage, and collect a variety of badges.

A digital badge, like a physical Boy Scout or Girl Scout badge, represents an accomplishment or acquired skill. Digital badges began with games and other online organizations to reward players, recognize achievement, and establish credibility. They are now part of a movement, shaped by Mozilla Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and other organizations, to recognize skill development and training achievements gained through self-directed informal learning and through formal professional development activities.

The Brooklyn Public Library’s project is modeled on the Open Badging system developed by Mozilla and implemented in Chicago’s Summer of Learning program in 2013. BiblioCommons, a software provider that makes online data, circulation, and cataloging tools available to library subscribers, will provide an online badging system platform to be piloted by Brooklyn Public Library and multiple library partners.

Partner libraries, including the Seattle Public Library, Omaha Public Library, and Tulsa City-County Library, will experiment with a variety of programming and badge promotion opportunities in their existing Summer Reading Programs. The project aims to test a digital badging system within a library environment, evaluate the technology, and present a model for other libraries.

2. IMLS Awards $328,659 in Grants For Three Projects


COSLA [Chief Officers of State Library Agencies] will establish the CE Connector Function for State Library Administrative Agencies to strengthen continuing education services for public librarians. The initiative will focus on scaling existing resources and new investments to a national level by creating the infrastructure to leverage state library agency training resources, co-develop new continuing education programming, and engage in national partnerships.

University of Washington

The University of Washington Information School (iSchool), will use its IMLS grant to invite 60 librarians, researchers, and innovators to a national leadership forum in October on digital youth. Digital youth is an emergent research area focused on how people from birth through young adulthood engage with technology and how technology is being shaped by their needs and demands. The inaugural Digital Youth (DY) iLab will strengthen the emerging interdisciplinary community of digital youth researchers, designers, industry leaders, professionals, and policymakers and help position library and information science disciplines as leading voices within this community.

American Library Association

With earlier IMLS funding [$50,000], the American Library Association began planning for a Center for the Future of Libraries. With the new IMLS grant, ALA will expand this work by holding a national summit to foster a broader, national conversation about the changing environment libraries operate in and to generate interest in trend watching to help libraries respond to and shape the future. ALA will produce a report from the summit and use the outcomes to inform the work of the Center for the Future of Libraries during its first year.

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.