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21st Century Skills

The global economy calls for new skills like critical thinking and problem solving, communication, collaboration, creativity and innovation.

Museums, Libraries, and 21st Century SkillsNational Initiative: Museums, Libraries, and 21st Century Skills
The Institute's Museums, Libraries, and 21st Century Skills initiative underscores the critical role our nation’s museums and libraries play in helping citizens build such 21st century skills as information, communications and technology literacy, critical thinking, problem solving, creativity, civic literacy, and global awareness.

Stem Video Game Challenge logoPartnership: STEM Video Game Challenge
IMLS is a National Community Sponsor of the National STEM Video Game Challenge. The Challenge, now in its third year, was inspired by President Obama’s "Educate to Innovate" Campaign, promoting science, technology, engineering and math education.

Search the Awarded Grants database for grants to programs that strengthen 21st century skills (issue areas have only been assigned to grants awarded since FY 2009)

21st century skills content on the IMLS Web site:
IMLS Announces Grants of $2.4 Million for U.S. Museums

July 17, 2015 10:04 AM
Forty-four grants to 21 states will strengthen museum operations and support the stewardship of our nation’s cultural heritage. Read More

 
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National STEM Video Game Challenge Announces Winners of Fourth Annual Competition

July 2, 2015 09:24 AM
The winners of the 2014 STEM Video Game Challenge were recognized at a gaming celebration on June 27 in Pittsburgh at WQED. Read More

 
USCIS Webinar on Enhancing Services for Adult Immigrant Learners

May 21, 2015 02:35 PM
We invite you to learn more about resources available to immigrant-serving organizations and adult education programs. Read More

 
IMLS Focus Learning in Libraries Final Report cover
Blog Post: Setting an Agenda to Advance Learning in Libraries

August 25, 2015 01:25 PM
A new report, prepared by OCLC Research, highlights key themes and issues raised at the IMLS Focus: Learning in Libraries convening. Read More

 
Lauren Hays, Co-Director of Center for Games and Learning; Glenn Wiebe, ESSDACK Presenter; Mark Hayse, Co-Director of Center for Games and Learning
Blog Post: Games & Learning Conference

August 24, 2015 12:37 PM
The Center for Games & Learning at MidAmerica Nazarene University hosted a Games & Learning Conference to discuss how gameplay can support educators. Read More

 
Blog Post: Bringing Together Public Libraries and STEM

August 18, 2015 09:13 AM
STEM professionals and librarians come together for the first Public Libraries and STEM Conference Read More

 
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Learning Labs in Libraries and Museums:Transformative Spaces for Teens


Learn how 24 cities and counties applied new research about young people’s media practices to create physical and digital spaces for learning. This publication describes lessons learned, new models and practices and the impact of Learning Labs, supported by IMLS and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Read More

 
cover of Museums, Libraries, and 21st Century Skills report
Museums, Libraries, and 21st Century Skills Report


This report outlines a vision for the role of libraries and museums in the national dialogue around learning and 21st century skills and includes case studies of innovative audience engagement and 21st century skills practices from across the country. Read More

 
Teens 1
Talking Points: From Third Place to Makerspace: Public Libraries and Teens


A snapshot of how public libraries reach out to teens with programs and services. Read More

 
Talking Points: Adult Literacy Cover
Talking Points: Adults Gain Skills at the Library


Short overview of the impact of library services for adult literacy. Read More

 
cpver of Talking Points: Makerspaces
Talking Points: Museums, Libraries, and Makerspaces


Quick summary of makerspaces -- hands-on, mentor-led learning environments to make and remake the physical and digital worlds -- in museums and libraries. Read More

 
21st Century Skills podcast

August 11, 2010 03:54 PM
In this podcast, Acting Director Marsha L. Semmel explains: 1) What are 21st century skills? 2) Where did the 21st century skills movement come from? 3) Where do museums and libraries fit in the 21st century skills movement? Semmel also describes Making the Learning Connection, IMLS’s national campaign to better understand the opportunities, challenges, and key issues facing today’s museums and libraries in their efforts to meet their communities’ 21st century learning needs. The campaign includes an eight-city workshop tour, a national contest, new online tools and resources, and a series of interactive webinars. Read More