September 16, 2021

IMLS Announces $22.7 Million Investment in U.S. Library Initiatives

From IMLS:

The Institute of Museum and Library Services today announced 78 awards totaling $22,711,204 to support libraries across the country. The FY 2021 awards were made through National Leadership Grants for Libraries and the Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program. The awarded grants search on the IMLS website contains a complete list of grantees and project descriptions.

“With the awards in our National Leadership Grants for Libraries and Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program for 2021, we are recognizing the importance of library work responding to the gaps in our society, under-resourced communities, professional development for underrepresented members of our communities, and the programs and services with impact on the daily lives of the American people,” said IMLS Director Crosby Kemper. “The emphasis on equity for all has never been stronger in the library world.”

National Leadership Grants for Libraries support projects that address significant challenges and opportunities facing the library and archives fields and have the potential to advance theory and practice with new tools, research findings, models, services, practices, or alliances that will be widely used. The National Leadership Grants for Libraries program received 172 preliminary proposals requesting $47,707,123.

Ninety-four projects were invited to submit full proposals, and of these, 39 projects were awarded $12,245,784, including:

  • Providence Public Library will leverage and expand on previous work in data visualization, data analysis, and data programming for diverse youth and adults to seed an innovative, responsive, holistic education program called Data For Good in partnership with institutions across the country.
  • Northern New York Library Network, in partnership with the Arkansas, New York, South Carolina, and Texas State Libraries, will develop and test models of valuation for libraries to assess the Tribal and public library’s measurable value to their local community.
  • The University of Florida will partner with Bates College and California State University, Fresno to enhance the discoverability of middle grade and young adult novels featuring characters who are Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC). The partnership builds on the work of Diverse BookFinder, an organization that has cataloged and analyzed thousands of trade picture books featuring BIPOC characters that were published or distributed in the U.S. since 2002.

The Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program supports developing a diverse workforce of library and archives professionals to better serve the changing learning and information needs of the American public by enhancing the training and professional development of librarians, developing faculty and library leaders, and recruiting and educating the next generation of librarians. The program received 127 preliminary proposals requesting $36,584,136, and 71 of these were invited to submit full proposals.

IMLS is awarding $10,465,420 to 39 projects, including:

  • The Ferguson Library in Connecticut, in partnership with Benetech, will improve libraries’ services for people with disabilities and reading barriers by developing educational resources and building the capacity of libraries to increase the accessibility and customization of digital resources and reading materials. The project team will conduct a broad-based needs assessment of the library community, develop a guiding roadmap to foster accessibility efforts nationwide, and pilot a sample training module that instructs library workers in modern accessible reading technologies and digital services.
  • The Technology in Early Childhood Center at Erikson Institute in Illinois is partnering with the Carroll County Public Library system, Chandler Public Library, Homer Public Library, and Scarborough Public Library to support the media literacy knowledge and confidence of librarians so they can effectively develop the media literacy skills of young children and families.
  • The University of North Texas Departments of Information Science, Learning Technologies, and Linguistics, in partnership with the International Association of School Librarians, will hold a forum about building the capacity of school librarians to provide services for English language learners (ELLs). The forum will convene contributors from the school library community and ELL stakeholders, such as linguists, ELL community members, public librarians, educational technologists, teachers, and school administrators to explore strategies and best practices for teaching ELLs.

“These National Leadership Grants for Libraries and Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian awards are examples of the many ways in which libraries and library workers collaborate across sectors, disciplines, and communities to foster a more inclusive and informed society,” said Cyndee Landrum, Deputy Director, Office of Library Services.

Visit the IMLS website for more information about the National Leadership Grants for Libraries and the Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian programs.

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) 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 Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.

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