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

Deadline: September 1, 2017

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:

  • 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
  • National digital platform: Support to increase library and archives professionals’ capacity to create, enhance, and deploy the open source software applications used by libraries and archives
  • 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

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, and assist in the professional development of library and archives staff. It is essential that projects have clear potential for broad impact. Projects may scale or further evolve an earlier phase of work, but should not simply sustain an existing project. Project Grants are for periods of one to three years. Doctoral level programs may carry out project activities for one to four years.
  • 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. Assessing the outcomes of planning activities should be appropriate to this early stage of work. Applications are expected to provide a basic framework for planning activities that have the potential to lead to a future project. Planning Grants are for periods of one year.
  • National Forum Grants: provide the opportunity to convene qualified groups of experts and key stakeholders, including those from adjacent fields as appropriate, with the purpose of fostering discussion and consideration of nationally important professional development and education-related issues among libraries and archives across the nation. National Forum grant recipients are expected to produce reports for wide dissemination with expert opinions for action or research that address key challenge(s) identified in the proposal. Additional mechanisms for engaging stakeholders and building awareness of the findings are encouraged. National Forum Grants are for periods of one to two years.
  • Research Grants: involve the investigation of key questions important to the library or information science professions. Basic and applied research projects should build upon prior empirical or theoretical work in libraries and archives or other fields, such as anthropology, learning sciences, sociology, etc., as appropriate. Research proposals should include clearly articulated research questions; feature data collection and analysis methods that help the project team answer their questions; and include dissemination strategies that allow the research team to share broadly the research findings and implications of the findings for libraries and archives. Proposals for Research Grants may apply to any of the Project Types listed below: Pre-professional, Master’s-level and Doctoral-level Programs, Early Career Development, and Continuing Education. Research Grants are for periods of one to three years.

LB21 project types 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 16, 2018.

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