July 27, 2023

Federal Funds Support Lifelong Learning, Digital Inclusion, Collections Access, Library Training Programs

People seated at table in library hall.
Photo courtesy of FY 2022 LB21 recipient Old Dominion University Perry Library.

Washington, DC—The Institute of Museum and Library Services today announced 64 awards totaling $20,363,297 to support libraries and archives across the country. The FY 2023 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.

“It is exciting for IMLS to release the latest round of our National Leadership Grants and our Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian grants. These funds go to serve institutions, individuals, and projects that represent the best of the library world in service to our communities,” said IMLS Director Crosby Kemper.

National Leadership Grants for Libraries support projects of national impact 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 118 preliminary proposals requesting $35,110,166.

62 projects were invited to submit full proposals, and of these, 33 projects were awarded $11,748,163, including:

  • The Connecticut State Library, in collaboration with 8 public libraries, will design and implement a replicable model for regional sharing of digital navigation services to underserved residents. The plan seeks to enrich the IMLS funded Salt Lake City navigator model to facilitate the participation of smaller libraries via a regional collaboration, simultaneously demonstrating efficiencies of scale. The State Library of Connecticut’s Regional Navigator Sharing Plan will engage with 2,000 residents in need, distribute 400 computers, and create a toolkit for replication of such regional library collaboration. The implementation of this model is expected to inform those responsible for Digital Equity Act projects across the United States of ways to introduce centralization and efficiencies into the smaller navigation project models with which they are familiar.

  • The South Asian American Digital Archive (SAADA) will lead a research study to develop and evaluate earned revenue strategies for community-based archives (CBAs) and small/medium-sized cultural institutions, producing approaches that strengthen financial sustainability and are replicable by other organizations. A research cohort of four CBAs will identify earned revenue strategies and work with business consultants to develop a strategic plan for generating revenue. The strategies will then be deployed under the guidance of researchers and CBA participants will capture data as the primary activity during the second year. Research findings will be disseminated to the field through the publication of a “how to” monograph, a series of webinars and/or conference presentation that shares results and learnings of each cohort organization at the end of each year, and an interactive web portal to make findings easily accessible.

  • The University of Maryland, in partnership with the Chief Officers of State Library Agencies and the Association of Rural and Small Libraries, will enhance a Field Guide of Essential Tasks and develop training materials to prepare public library staff to support historically marginalized youth and families before, during, and after crises. This project will build a repository of illustrative examples, develop participatory design session plans, build a mentoring community of practice that will center on approaches for providing equitable practices and services during crises, train a group of mentors to prepare public libraries to support communities in crisis in their respective states, and revise the Field Guide and website of resources. The project beneficiaries are library staff nationwide who want to strengthen their ability to provide programs and services in moments of need and the marginalized youth and families who participate in these programs and services.

The Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program supports projects of far-reaching impact that develop 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, develop faculty and library leaders, and recruit and educate the next generation of librarians. The program received 120 preliminary proposals requesting $32,503,568, and 69 of these were invited to submit full proposals.

IMLS is awarding $8,615,134 to 31 projects, including:

  • The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, in support of accessible data curation and inclusive data visualization, will research the needs of professional data curators and blind patrons. The university’s Dr. JooYoung Seo will work with organizational partners to develop a multimodal data representation system. Through needs assessments, co-design, and iterative user studies with data curators and blind patrons, the project team will develop open-source tools that can augment visual charts into touchable (braille), readable (text), and audible (sound) representations. The system can be seamlessly integrated into data curators’ reproducible workflows to equally serve people with and without visual impairments. The tools and training resources will be made available open source so the deliverables can broadly support more inclusive data visualizations into the future.

  • The Sealaska Heritage Institute and partners will develop culturally responsive early literacy programming for children and learning resources for librarians. During the two-year Raven Reads at the Library Toolkit project, the team will create a Cultural Responsiveness Organizational Self-Assessment for Libraries, produce, test, and refine two asynchronous e-Learning modules for library staff, co-design, deliver, and refine activity plans for nine Raven Reads at the Library Family Literacy Events, develop the Raven Reads at the Library Toolkit, which will have culturally responsive early literacy tools, videos, and linguistic resources, deliver a train-the-trainer workshop for Alaska’s public libraries and for the nation’s tribal college libraries, and disseminate the toolkit more broadly.

  • The University of North Texas will engage in applied research to close research gaps on the documentary and archival needs of refugees in the United States. It will benefit refugees, public librarians, archivists, records managers, community memory workers, and others working with refugee communities by investigating best practices and protocols in the care of vital records upon entry into the United States, as well as the creation and long-term preservation of personal digital archives of refugees. Using grounded theory and user-centered design approaches, data collection will occur through 20 focus groups with refugees and individuals who work with refugees and through an investigation of personal digital management software and archival repositories. The project will organize a virtual symposium on findings and best practices that will be open to refugee communities, individuals who work with refugees through refugee service agencies, and archivists and librarians.

  • The Carnegie Mellon University Libraries will implement a training program and curriculum to prepare library practitioners to meet the evolving Open Science needs and expectations of the research communities they support. This work can be used by educators and those in research support positions who teach, consult, or support best practices in Open Science, such as open data, open software, and open publishing. The project is based on several objectives and activities such as Understanding the Open Science Ecosystem: Core Principles and Practices; Supporting Open Science: Organizational Contexts and Constraints; Supporting Open Science Across Disciplines and Across the Research Lifecycle; and Current Issues in Open Science.

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

About the Institute of Museum and Library Services
The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation's libraries and museums. We advance, support, and empower America's museums, libraries, and related organizations through grantmaking, research, and policy development. IMLS envisions a nation where individuals and communities have access to museums and libraries to learn from and be inspired by the trusted information, ideas, and stories they contain about our diverse natural and cultural heritage. To learn more, visit www.imls.gov and follow us on Facebook and LinkedIn.

National Leadership Grants for Libraries
Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program