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IMLS Releases Grant Guidelines for Learning Labs in Libraries and Museums

Friday, June 17, 2011


IMLS Press Contacts
Natasha Marstiller,
Mamie Bittner,

Washington, DC—The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) announces the availability of application guidelines for the "Learning Labs in Libraries and Museums" project, funded jointly by IMLS and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. This funding initiative is part of President Obama's "Educate to Innovate" campaign, a nationwide effort to bring American students to the forefront in science and math, to provide the workers of tomorrow with the skills they need today, and to re-envision learning in the 21st century.

The program, in partnership with the Urban Libraries Council (ULC) and the Association of Science-Technology Centers (ASTC), will support the planning and design of up to 30 Learning Labs in libraries and museums that are based on current research on how young people learn through new media. The program will also build a community of practice among the grantee institutions.

"America's libraries and museums will become even more powerful innovation hubs for our young people," said IMLS Director Susan Hildreth. "This exciting national collaboration will engage young people in learning that is interest-based, youth-centered, flexible, and collaborative using innovations already taking place in science and technology centers, art museums, libraries, and other cultural institutions."

This partnership underscores the critical role the nation's libraries and museums play in helping citizens build and develop skills in areas such as information, communications and technology literacy, critical thinking, problem solving, creativity, civic literacy, and global awareness.

The program announcement is available on the IMLS Web site and through, Funding Opportunity Number LLP-FY11. Proposals must be submitted through no later than August 15, 2011. Awards will be announced in November 2011. Click here for Frequently Asked Questions about the Learning Labs Project.

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. The Institute's mission is to create strong libraries and museums that connect people to information and ideas. The Institute works at the national level and in coordination with state and local organizations to sustain heritage, culture, and knowledge; enhance learning and innovation; and support professional development. To learn more about the Institute, please visit

About the MacArthur Foundation's Digital Media and Learning Initiative
The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation's digital media and learning initiative aims to determine how digital media are changing the way young people learn, play, socialize, and participate in civic life. The goal is to build a base of evidence about how young people learn today, in an effort to re-imagine learning in the 21st century. More information is available at

About the Urban Libraries Council
Urban Libraries Council (ULC) is a membership organization made up of North America's premier public library systems and the corporations supporting them. While ULC's members primarily represent urban and suburban settings, the work done by ULC is widely used by all libraries including those in rural settings. ULC strategically addresses issues important to all communities including education, workforce and economic development, public safety, environmental sustainability, health, and wellness. ULC's members are thought leaders dedicated to the continuous evolution and strengthening of libraries to meet changing community needs. As ULC celebrates its forty-year anniversary, its work focuses on helping library leaders develop and utilize skills and strategies that match the challenges of the 21st century. Learn more at

About the Association of Science-Technology Centers
The Association of Science-Technology Centers (ASTC) is an organization of science centers and museums dedicated to furthering public engagement with science among increasingly diverse audiences. ASTC encourages excellence and innovation in informal science learning by serving and linking its members worldwide and advancing their common goals. Through strategic alliances and global partnerships, ASTC also supports science centers and museums in proactively addressing critical societal issues, locally and globally, where understanding of and engagement with science are essential. Founded in 1973, ASTC now numbers nearly 600 members in 44 countries. Members include not only science centers and museums, but also nature centers, aquariums, planetariums, zoos, botanical gardens, and natural history and children's museums, as well as companies, consultants, and other organizations that share an interest in informal science education. Visit to learn more about ASTC and to find a science center near you.

Learning Labs