June 10, 2020

IMLS Invests $719K in Small and Rural Libraries
New Projects to Advance Digital Inclusion, Community Memory, School Library Practice

CCPL's new Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Memory Lab allows residents to digitize film and photography while working on family histories.

Washington, DC—The Institute of Museum and Library Services today announced $719,240 in grants to small and/or rural libraries through the Accelerating Promising Practices for Small Libraries initiative. The awards generated an additional $242,680 in matching funds. Forty-seven organizations requested grants totaling $2,084,971.

Accelerating Promising Practices for Small Libraries (APP) is a special initiative of the National Leadership Grants for Libraries Program. APP helps strengthen the ability of small and/or rural libraries and archives to serve their communities and to build grantee capacity through participation in a community of practice. The program focuses on three areas: transforming school library practice, community memory, and digital inclusion.

"Some of the mightiest are sometimes some of the smallest, as we can see from the wonderful projects planned by these grantees,” said IMLS Director Crosby Kemper. “Enhancing school library programming, engaging communities to preserve their unique and powerful histories, expanding capacity for those who need it and otherwise couldn’t access it, crossing the digital divide that exists for too many—what inspiring work is being done by small and rural libraries. We are honored to be able to support them.”

As part of the program, grantees participate in communities of practice based on their project category. Mentor organizations facilitate communication between grantees, provide expert guidance, and build grantee capacity in relevant areas. Grantees participate in regular teleconferences, online engagement, and in-person gatherings.

“Small and rural libraries are important community assets,” said Cyndee Landrum, Deputy Director of Library Services. “Participating in these communities of practice enables these organizations to cultivate networks, and access valuable resources, ideas, and knowledge that build on the vital services they provided for their communities.”

A list of all projects funded are available in the awarded grants search. Examples include:

  • J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College will create a semester-long laptop loan program for first-generation college students who demonstrate the greatest need. The program will further work to close the digital divide by providing three technology workshops per semester demonstrating the basics of laptop operation and a short primer on software to every student who borrows a laptop.
  • The Twin Lakes Library System will partner with Georgia College and State University to document the oral history of Central State Hospital, which was once the largest mental health hospital in the world. Interviews and materials will be integrated into an exhibit that will travel across Georgia to educate individuals about this little-known state history and destigmatize mental health.
  • Wahluke School District will develop a Culturally Relevant Learning Commons for Wahluke High School by transforming the currently unused library space into a learning commons. Librarians will provide instructional support to teachers on inquiry-based and culturally relevant teaching methods. The learning commons will include new technology and resources, flexible furniture, and collaborative spaces to support multi-modal communication, collaboration, and creativity.

For more information on grants for libraries and related organizations, visit the IMLS website.

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 libraries and museums. We advance, support, and empower America's museums, libraries, and related organizations through grantmaking, research, and policy development. Our vision is a nation where museums and libraries work together to transform the lives of individuals and communities. To learn more, visit www.imls.gov and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Photo courtesy of South Euclid Lyndhurst Library

Accelerating Promising Practices for Small Libraries