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Institute of Museum and Library Services: Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program

Deadline: September 1, 2016

The Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program (LB21) supports professional development, graduate education, and continuing education to help libraries and archives develop a diverse workforce of librarians to better meet the changing learning and information needs of the American public.

The Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS) is especially interested in supporting proposals to address the following project categories:

1. Community anchors: Support for projects that investigate and build the skills and knowledge of library professionals to support the role of libraries as community anchors that facilitate lifelong learning; enhance civic and cultural engagement; and support economic vitality, through programming and services. Training, research, and educational opportunities may focus on:

  • Assessing opportunities for developing new community-based programs, relationships, promising products, or services that support and engage communities
  • Designing educational opportunities informed by other sectors and disciplines that support library professionals’ mastery of new skills to improve their ability to address community needs. These skills may include: project management, partnership development, design thinking, data analytics, impact assessment, participatory programming, leadership development, and iterative product development or systems analysis
  • Investigating widespread community challenges that both inform and are informed by current library and archival practice, feature mutually beneficial relationships between researchers and practitioners, occur between practitioners and their communities, and communicate findings in ways that have the potential to improve library services

2. National digital platform: Support for projects that increase library professionals’ capacity to create, develop, and use the open source software applications used by libraries and archives to provide digital content and services to all users in the U.S. Training, research, and educational opportunities may focus on:

  • Planning new training programs for librarians or library students related to the development, implementation, or use of digital library tools
  • Supporting formal or informal educational programs to increase librarians’ capacity related to the development, implementation, or use of digital library tools including but not limited to research and public access contexts
  • Assessing the needs for and impact of investments in education and training for open source digital library tools (e.g. examining librarians’ education and training needs for coding or other skills)

3. Curating collections: Support for projects that increase librarians’ and library professionals’ capacity to create, preserve, manage, and provide access to digital library collections across the country. Training, research, and educational opportunities may focus on:

  • Supporting efforts to establish plans for training library school students or library staff on topics related to preservation, conservation, and access
  • Identifying an emerging area of importance for librarian skill development as related to stewardship of digital collections, and bringing together stakeholders from both inside and outside the library sector to explore the topic
  • Supporting formal or informal educational programs to increase librarians’ capacity related to the stewardship of digital collections
  • Assessing the gaps in, needs for, and impact of investments in education and training products, services, and networks to support stewardship of digital collections across a range of institutions

Funding categories for the LB21 program include:

  • Project Grants: Support projects to develop faculty and library leaders, recruit and educate the next generation of librarians and archivists, conduct research, and assist in the professional development of librarians and archivists
  • Planning Grants: Allow project teams to perform preliminary planning activities, such as analyzing needs and feasibility, solidifying partnerships, developing project work plans, or developing prototypes or proofs of concept, and pilot studies
  • National Forum Grants: Provide the opportunity to convene qualified groups of experts and key stakeholders to consider nationally important professional development and education-related issues among libraries and archives across the nation
  • Research Grants: Support for the investigation of key questions important to library or information science professions

LB21 project categories include:

  • Pre-professional: Programs work to recruit future professionals to develop a diverse workforce in library and information science, including to attract promising high school or undergraduate students to consider careers in library and information science through statewide, regional, or national recruitment and part-time employment projects.
  • Masters-level and Doctoral-level programs: Master’s programs work to educate the next generation of librarians and archivists in nationally accredited graduate library programs to meet the evolving needs of the profession and society. Doctoral programs work to: develop faculty to educate the next generation of library and archives professionals and to develop the next generation of library and archives leaders to assume positions as managers and administrators.
  • Early career development: Supporting the early career development of new faculty members in library and information science by supporting innovative research by untenured, tenure-track faculty.
  • Continuing education: Support to improve the knowledge, skills, and abilities of library and archives staff through programs of continuing education, both formal and informal, including post-master’s programs, residencies, internships, enhanced work experiences, blended learning opportunities, online learning modules, and other training programs for professional staff.

Amount: A total of $3,700,000 will be awarded to an anticipated 11 organizations. Project Grants range from $50,000 to $1,000,000; Planning Grants range up to $50,000; National Forum Grants range up to $100,000; and Research Grants range up to $500,000.

Eligibility: Unit of state or local government or a private nonprofit organization that has tax-exempt status under the Internal Revenue Code and qualifies as one of the following:

  • A library or a parent organization, such as a school district, a municipality, a State agency, or an academic institution, that is responsible for the administration of a library
  • An academic or administrative unit, such as a graduate school of library and information science that is part of an institution of higher education through which it would make application
  • A digital library, if it makes library materials publicly available and provides library services, including selection, organization, description, reference, and preservation, under the supervision of at least one permanent professional staff person
  • A library agency that is an official agency of a state or other unit of government and is charged by the law governing it with the extension and development of public library services within its jurisdiction
  • A library consortium that is a local, statewide, regional, interstate, or international cooperative association of library entities that provides for the systematic and effective coordination of the resources of eligible libraries, as defined above, and information centers that work to improve the services delivered to the clientele of these libraries
  • A library association that exists on a permanent basis; serves libraries or library professionals on a national, regional, state, or local level; and engages in activities designed to advance the well-being of libraries and the library profession

Link: https://www.imls.gov/nofo/laura-bush-21st-century-librarian-program-fy17-notice-funding-opportunity

Note: The September 1 deadline is for preliminary proposals. If invited, a full proposal will be due January 13, 2017.

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