IMLS is partnering with the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) to better understand how museums and libraries are working to support comprehensive community revitalization. As one of the country’s largest community development intermediaries, LISC has been supporting comprehensive community change for ten years, and now backs community partnerships in 107 neighborhoods in 30 cities and many rural areas nationwide. Through this partnership, IMLS will analyze existing cases and report back on best practices and strategies for successful museum-library and community collaborations fostering revitalization.

What is Comprehensive Community Revitalization?

Comprehensive community revitalization is a strategy to improve the quality of life of low-income communities through simultaneous investments in housing, commercial districts, education, health and public safety and employment. The most promising efforts involve residents, organizations, businesses, and associations in multi-sectoral partnerships to engage, plan, implement, oversee, and evaluate change efforts. The Promise Neighborhoods Initiative (Department of Education) and the Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative (multiple agencies) are founded on similar principles

For more information on Comprehensive Community Revitalization:

Read more about the LISC Institute for Comprehensive Community Development.

What is the Role of Museums and Libraries?

Museums and libraries of all kinds contribute directly to community well-being. The types of programs and activities museums and libraries carry out to produce these effects include self-initiated learning, educational programs, documentation and materials preservation, public information campaigns, direct investments in community spaces, support for arts and cultural activities, and many others.

To be consistent with the community-building thrust of comprehensive initiatives, how museums and libraries contribute to comprehensive revitalization is as important as what these institutions do. One premise of our research is that museums and libraries that participate in multi-sectoral community partnerships are able to deliver better value to communities than those that act alone or through one-on-one community partnerships isolated from coordinated efforts.

About the Partnership

IMLS and LISC are looking for museums and libraries that are currently demonstrating a sustained commitment to community-based revitalization work as subjects for case studies to identify best practices.

Selected case examples will contain many of the following characteristics:

  • Projects that make use of reliable evidence of community needs for program planning and outcome monitoring.
  • Targeted programming to youth, adults, senior citizens, diverse racial, ethnic, and cultural groups, and members of at-risk, marginalized, or disadvantaged communities.
  • Resident and community leader participation in program design, management and / or evaluation, including partnerships with community-based organizations.
  • Delivery of programs and projects that measurably increase the physical, social, political, and economic benefits accruing to specific geographic communities.
  • Cooperation, coordination or partnership with multiple community-based organizations working to achieve specific physical, social, educational, political, and economic outcomes.
  • Participation in planning, implementation and governance structures that are part of a comprehensive community initiative.
  • Projects and programs that are widely replicable with limited resources across a variety of settings.

Museums and libraries that are selected will be contacted for document collection and key informant interviews.

Researchers will prepare a report for a broad policy and practitioner audience that outlines a conceptual framework that links comprehensive community revitalization goals with interests and capacities of libraries and museums, and identifies promising practices in library and museum programming that support community revitalization.

To nominate a museum or library for inclusion in this study, or to obtain more information on the project, please contact:

               Lesley Lundgren, LISC,

               Sarah Fuller, IMLS,