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Washington, DC—The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) announced today a $99,713 grant to the Center for Technology in Government at the University at Albany for a national forum that will lead to a better understanding of how public libraries help citizens engage with local governments.
More and more local governments are investing in open government initiatives. Public libraries are integral partners in these local open government “ecosystems.” The ecosystems feature relationships of mutual interdependence with community organizations like social service nonprofits, civil society organizations, businesses, and libraries. As the public increasingly accesses government information and services at libraries, it is important for libraries and local governments to understand how best to work together to meet public needs. The project will include a concept paper, use of online tools to solicit input from stakeholders, a face-to-face workshop, and a widely distributed report.
“Public libraries have always helped citizens find information about local government programs and services,” said IMLS Director Susan Hildreth. “As government agencies provide more services online, public libraries are taking on an ever greater role in connecting the public to these services. We are pleased to be supporting a project that explores ways libraries and local government can collaboratively partner to enhance civic engagement.”
“One missing element in our efforts to create more open governments is full understanding of the role of public libraries in the larger open government ecosystem,” said Theresa Pardo, CTG Director. “Citizens regularly turn to their public libraries for help when engaging with government, but how new investments in open government are influencing the nature and frequency of interactions between citizens and libraries is unclear. This grant will be instrumental in building new understanding of the current and future role of public libraries in the open government ecosystem.”
About the Institute of Museum and Library Services
The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. Our mission is to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement. Our grant making, policy development, and research help libraries and museums deliver valuable services that make it possible for communities and individuals to thrive. To learn more, visit www.imls.gov and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.