Sparks! Ignition Grants for Libraries and Museums
July 2013 Grant Announcement

California  |  District of Columbia  |  Florida  |  Illinois  |  Indiana  |  Louisiana  |  Maryland

New York  |  North Carolina  |  Ohio  |  Texas  |  Washington


Claremont Colleges Library - Claremont, CA
Congressional District: CA_26
Award Amount: $23,500; Matching Amount: $17,517

Contact: Ms. Char Booth
Instruction Services Manager

The Claremont Colleges Library’s Visual Curriculum Mapping (VCM) project focuses on visualizing the interconnected learning communities of Claremont McKenna College, Claremont Graduate University, Harvey Mudd College, Keck Graduate Institute, Pitzer College, Pomona College, and Scripps College (the 7Cs). The project addresses the rapidly shifting landscape of libraries and higher education and will result in production and archiving of web-based interactive maps. This work will support information literacy across the curriculum and explore opportunities for library community and capacity building at the 7Cs. The maps will provide a foundation for an annual bird’s-eye snapshot of how the 7Cs coincide academically, highlighting strategic points for library intervention among students and faculty and providing the diverse academic communities with a value-added means of identifying shared opportunities and challenges.


Holy Names University, Paul J. Cushing Library - Oakland, CA
Congressional District: CA_09
Award Amount: $23,660; Matching Amount: $15,100

Contact: Ms. Karen Schneider
University Librarian

Flipped Info Lit: Extending Experiential Information Literacy Instruction with Digital Learning Objects will be developed by the Paul J. Cushing Library with the departments of nursing and athletics at Holy Names University to design and test digital learning objects created with lecture capture software in order to extend in-class active learning sessions. This will be the first time face-to-face active learning and digital learning objects have been intentionally and programmatically aligned in an academic library setting. The project includes expanding and amplifying the reach of information literacy instruction, a core service in academic librarianship. Short multimedia recordings will provide instruction for core tasks related to citation management and general tasks related to accessing resources and the feasibility of this model will be assessed.


Chabot Space and Science Center Foundation - Oakland, CA
Congressional District: CA_09
Award Amount: $24,964; Matching Amount: $47,034

Contact: Mrs. Melissa Rosengard
Director of Institutional Advancement

The Chabot Space & Science Museum will produce Random Acts of Science, a pop-up science education program for underserved neighborhoods in Oakland. Inspired by, and in partnership with, the Oakland Firefighter’s Random Acts (a philanthropic outreach organization of Oakland Firefighters), the program will pair trusted and respected firefighters with astronomers and science educators, arriving by fire engine to communities whose members are least likely to come to the Science Center. Chabot will use mobile technology and equipment such as a traveling telescope, computer hookup, and large portable screen. The combination of portable astronomy equipment with the excitement of a fire engine has the potential to serve as a model for science education community outreach programs.


San Diego Society of Natural History - San Diego, CA
Congressional District: CA_53
Award Amount: $24,360; Matching Amount: $9,543

Contact: Dr. Michael Wall
VP, Research & Public Programs

San Diego Society of Natural History will use popular technology, social software, and digitized natural history collections to reconnect the public with nature. NatureSpace addresses the challenge of making digitized natural history collections, which are traditionally not designed to be accessible to the average person, more engaging through a new user-friendly front-end interface. Working with volunteer organizations interested in interpreting three local natural areas in the San Diego region, the museum will prototype 18 user-centered tools such as scavenger hunts and interpretive walks for the NatureSpace mobile application. The final products will be openly shared with the museum community.


California Academy of Sciences, Academy Library - San Francisco, CA
Congressional District: CA_08
Award Amount: $24,975; Matching Amount: $20,974

Contact: Ms. Rebecca Morin
Head Librarian

One Truth, Many Lies: A New View of Art & Natural History Collections is a pilot program from the California Academy of Sciences that redefines the natural history museum. The project focuses on novel uses of collections as part of the artistic process and testing creative methods of exposing collections to different audiences. Four visual artists will work with research collections and curatorial staff, interact with museum visitors, and conduct workshops for local artists. The project will result in the creation of a free guide for museums planning creative collaborative projects with new partners and audiences. The project will also give librarians and archivists the rare chance to work closely with a creative community while increasing access to scientific collections.


District of Columbia

District of Columbia Public Library - Washington, DC
Congressional District:
Award Amount: $25,000; Matching Amount: $0

Contact: Ms. Marcia Harrington
Manager, Adult Literacy Resource Center

The Adult Literacy Resource Center at the District of Columbia Public Library, in partnership with Academy of Hope, will create a General Equivalency Diploma (GED) Institute for instructors of GED preparation classes. In January of 2014, there will be a new GED exam with more rigorous content that requires instructors to teach higher-level skills to youth and adults who already struggle. Activities include recruitment of ten teacher-trainers, facilitation of ten workshops, and development of curricula available through an open source textbook and online learning platform. The institute’s scripts, agendas, handouts and video will be made freely available online for use by seventy-five to one hundred paid and volunteer teachers and tutors of GED preparation and others.


George Washington University Libraries - Washington, DC
Congressional District: DC_01
Award Amount: $24,550; Matching Amount: $27,586

Contact: Mr. Daniel Chudnov
Director, Scholarly Technology

The George Washington University (GW) Libraries, in collaboration with the University of North Texas, Yale University, the Center for Jewish History, and other cultural heritage organizations, will enhance a prototype application developed in 2012 for collecting social media data from Twitter to meet diverse academic research, teaching, and library collection development needs. The prototype application will automate the collection of data from Twitter's API (application programming interface) and makes it possible for scholars, students, and librarians to identify, select, collect, and preserve Twitter data for research purposes at little to no marginal cost. The team’s work will result in a robust, reliable application, implemented and tested in multiple institutions, that is documented and available for use, study, copying, and modification under a free and open source software license.



Indian River State College - Fort Pierce, FL
Congressional District: FL_23
Award Amount: $19,183; Matching Amount: $17,559

Contact: Ms. Patricia Profeta
Dean of Learning Resources

Indian River State College (IRSC) will develop a digital literacy program to help build interest in scientific inquiry; ability to locate STEM resources in digital format; and scientific and digital literacy skills among up to 7,500 learners at IRSC’s Adult Education Career Pathways, the Center for Media and Journalism Studies, the Career Pathways Initiatives Program, STEM baccalaureate programs, and the Upward Bound Math/Science program. The project will feature the use of new presentation apps in a small group or peer-led environment delivered using face-to face, synchronous, and asynchronous methods. The program will also have an instructional/application track for library employees with supplementary content for the user. Formal and informal assessments of learning will measure the acquisition of knowledge and curriculum strength.


Institute for Research in Art, University of South Florida - Tampa, FL
Congressional District: FL_11
Award Amount: $25,000; Matching Amount: $25,000

Contact: Ms. Margaret Miller

Through Art in Health: Observation in Practice, the University of South Florida Contemporary Art Museum will address the lack of evaluation in art observation training for medical professionals and attempt to determine what influence such training partnerships have on the clinical skills of students. As well as developing documentation for an innovative art observation training program, the museum will prototype a tool to assess student skills improvement in simulated clinical settings. If transferability of skills learned at museums to external professional contexts can be established, it will encourage a societal reframing and revaluing of art museums as sites of critical skills acquisition. All training materials and research results will be posted online.



Art Institute of Chicago - Chicago, IL
Congressional District:
Award Amount: $25,000; Matching Amount: $64,551

Contact: Ms. Elizabeth Neely
Director, Digital Information and Access

Despite considerable excitement surrounding the promise of 3D printing, the use of this technology in the museum setting is, as yet, unevaluated. The Art Institute of Chicago will experiment with innovative approaches to audience engagement using 3D technologies. Various programing will be tested on adults, families, teens, and tweens to evaluate the potential impact of 3D printing technologies on engagement with museum collections. The museum will develop guidelines and modular program “recipes” to be shared with other museums and educators.


American Library Association, Reference and User Services Association (RUSA) -
Congressional District: IL_07
Award Amount: $25,000; Matching Amount: $12,882

Contact: Ms. Susan Hornung
Executive Director, ASCLA/RUSA

The Reference and User Services Association (RUSA), a division of the American Library Association, will create National Guidelines and Best Practices for Financial Literacy Education (FLE) in libraries nationwide. Both guidelines and best practices guides will be located and freely available on the RUSA website. Guidelines will consolidate and standardize best practices, innovative thinking, and successful service delivery models for library-based FLE, offering an essential framework for interventions to help patrons gain financial knowledge, literacy, and even fluency. The guidelines and best practices will spark substantial improvements in how and how many libraries offer appropriately tailored FLE services, filling a substantial nationwide service gap. Documents will be complemented by single- and three-session FLE webinars to help prepare librarians and library staff.


College of DuPage Library - Glen Ellyn, IL
Congressional District: IL_06
Award Amount: $15,799; Matching Amount: $0

Contact: Dr. Lisa Stock
Dean, Learning Resources

VISA: Veterans Information Services Assistance, developed by the College of DuPage (COD), will increase veterans’ information literacy, research skills, and awareness of library resources to increase their chances for college success. VISA responds to the need for dedicated academic support and understanding of veterans, a growing population of college students who often struggle with their return to campus life. The project includes the piloting of a two-hour information literacy course, increasing access to technology and technology instruction, a mentoring program, a computer station in the veterans’ lounge area, staff development sessions and a webinar to help employees understand the transition needs of veteran students, an e-newsletter, and a survey to determine the next steps in continuing to provide for veteran students’ needs.



Purdue University Libraries - West Lafayette, IN
Congressional District: IN_04
Award Amount: $23,831; Matching Amount: $5,480

Contact: Professor Ilana Barnes
Assistant Professor of Library Science

Purdue University will develop CrowdAsk - A Crowdsource Library Help System, a web-based help system for academic libraries. CrowdAsk will allow librarians, students, and faculty to ask and answer questions about library resources and tools. CrowdAsk will also support ranking of questions and answers by users as well as the use of scores and badges for user motivation. The project addresses issues of existing fragmented library and academic help channels, content reuse and preservation, and lack of user (particularly expert) participation. CrowdAsk will be open source and shared with the public. It will impact the way users interact with libraries, as well as promote better understanding and use of library resources. The project will give users power to support others in getting research help.



Calcasieu Parish Public Library - Lake Charles, LA
Congressional District:
Award Amount: $24,892; Matching Amount: $16,553

Contact: Ms. Clare Coleman
Branch Manager

The Calcasieu Parish Public Library (CPPL) will create the Innovation Studio, an innovative physical space and model for patron-driven programming in response to a rapidly growing and changing community. The project includes designing and outfitting a designated space with furnishings and equipment and creating a programming model and digital application for members of the community to propose ideas for use, vote on submitted ideas, and reserve the use of the studio. Offering a program or class will be based on appeal to participants, using the basic idea behind crowd sourcing. The project team will reach out to and meet the social, cultural, and educational needs of new residents; help new residents learn about and understand the Southwest Louisiana region; and facilitate cooperation and collaboration between traditional and new populations.



Towson University, Center for Geographic Information Systems - Baltimore, MD
Congressional District: MD_03
Award Amount: $24,990; Matching Amount: $4,830

Contact: Ms. Ardys Russakis
CGIS Operations Officer

Towson University’s Center for GIS (CGIS), in partnership with the Eastern Shore Regional Library and Towson University’s Cook Library, will conduct a needs assessment and then develop, implement, and evaluate a geographic information system (GIS) for libraries. GIS promotes efficient, information-based organizational planning and analysis by spatially integrating datasets into graphic displays of relationships, patterns, and trends. CGIS will integrate raw data collected by Eastern Shore libraries with other datasets to create a map- and market-driven picture of library users and their preferences. The goal is to identify and offer more programs and services that are pertinent to more people. With the ability to visualize the relationships of disparate data sets, library administrators can understand better which services and resources address community needs.


New York

Lehman College - Bronx, NY
Congressional District: NY_17
Award Amount: $25,000; Matching Amount: $0

Contact: Mr. Michael Ferraro
Associate Professor

The Leonard Lief Library and Department of Art at Lehman College will create an Animated Information Literacy Advocate to explore the feasibility of using animation to foster information literacy in college-­age students. Information literacy skills, including assessing information, locating sources, thinking critically, and acting ethically, are especially vital for young people entering the workforce. Four videos featuring an animated advocate developed using Kabuki RealTime Animation software will introduce learners to critical thinking in dramatic scenarios. Focus groups will be conducted to measure student satisfaction and measure outcomes of learning. The advocate will be the first animated character to deliver information literacy instruction, providing the broader library field with a new area of research in online instruction as well as the ability to test three pedagogical strategies.


Cornell University Library - Ithaca, NY
Congressional District: NY_22
Award Amount: $24,522; Matching Amount: $5,949

Contact: Mr. Richard Entlich
Collection Analyst

This Cornell University Library project addresses incorrect and missing data in scholarly records. The project involves an analysis of WorldCat records for print area studies monographs to check accuracy and omission of key coded data. Area studies feature scholarship and expertise dealing with specialized knowledge of language and culture of other nations and are recognized as key contributions in an increasingly globalized society. The project includes detection of incorrectly coded geographic references for both place of publication and subject emphasis by finding inconsistencies within records. Techniques for filling in missing codes will be tested and the extraction of useful georeferences from data fields will be researched. Records will be enhanced to increase discovery, collection analysis, and cooperative collection building.


North Carolina

Friends of the North Carolina State Museum of Natural Sciences - Raleigh, NC
Congressional District: NC_13
Award Amount: $18,448; Matching Amount: $77,603

Contact: Ms. Liani Yirka
Curator of Special Populations

In partnership with the North Carolina Rehabilitation Center for the Blind and the Governor Morehead School for the Blind, the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences will work with a software developer to prototype a state-of-the-art software application that will enhance and make more meaningful the museum experience for visually impaired and blind visitors. The application, based on one developed for hotel environments, will provide detailed way-finding maps and enhanced exhibition interpretation. The application will be made available for other museums to adapt for their own environments.



Ohio Historical Society - Columbus, OH
Congressional District: OH_15
Award Amount: $24,941; Matching Amount: $27,823

Contact: Ms. Molly Uline-Olmstead
Project Director and Grant Writer

The Indian Removal, a federal policy that relocated Native American tribes living east of the Mississippi River to lands west of the river, left little historical record and makes teaching and learning about both Native American history and contemporary Native American life in Ohio difficult. To address this undervalued topic, the Ohio Historical Society will implement The Oklahoma & Ohio Exchange, a collaborative project with the Eastern Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma, Ohio K-12 teachers, and Oklahoma K-12 teachers. The project will establish protocols and models that can be translated from this project to other museum partnerships that hope to forge relationships with educators in diaspora populations.



Austin Public Library - Austin, TX
Congressional District: TX_21
Award Amount: $24,625; Matching Amount: $23,084

Contact: Ms. Mindy Read
Recycled Reads Manager

The Sprouting Green Weeding Practices in Libraries: Web-Based Training project, developed by the Austin Public Library, will offer libraries across the nation an opportunity to engage citizens and raise awareness of carbon neutral reuse options for books and materials being weeded and discarded from library collections. Austin’s partner, Goodwill Industries of Central Texas along with other libraries and subject experts from Materials Management, Solid Waste Services, the Office of Sustainability and the public, will draw upon their collective experiences to develop content and disseminate an online training tool. The project will promote examination of collection management policies and workflows and the development of meaningful measurements to communicate success, inspiring the community to become engaged with the library to keep materials out of landfills.



Center for Wooden Boats - Seattle, WA
Congressional District: WA_07
Award Amount: $24,748; Matching Amount: $1,302

Contact: Mr. Andrew Washburn
Historical Projects Manager

The collection, storage, and care of large objects present ongoing challenges for museums of all sizes. The Center for Wooden Boats will test photogrammetry on large collection items, or macro-artifacts, to measure size and monitor changes over time. Changes in dimension can help alert collections managers to the need for active or preventative conservation treatment. The project team will develop, test, and refine a procedure for using photogrammetry to monitor dimensional stability on a variety of watercraft and other maritime macro-artifacts, resulting in procedures that will ultimately be usable in vastly different museum environments and subject areas.