January 29, 2020

IMLS Invests in School Readiness, Building National Network of Museums and Libraries
Grant to the Boston Children’s Museum to Scale Up Early Learning Work

Washington, DC—The Institute of Museum and Library Services today announced a new initiative to better equip museum and library professionals to serve young children and families. Building a National Network of Museums and Libraries for School Readiness, a cooperative agreement with the Boston Children’s Museum funded through a National Leadership Grant for Museums, aims to addresses persistent gaps and opportunities in early childhood education by forming coalitions of museums and libraries.

The goal of the initiative is to ensure every child, regardless of socio-economic or linguistic background, has the skills needed to enter school prepared for success. The project builds on previous success, scaling up a 2015 National Leadership Grant for Museums that piloted the expansion of the School Readiness Program to two new states.

“At IMLS, we analyze gaps and needs in the field, looking to amplify our previous investments, leverage emerging and tested practices, and bring together different collaborators to promote cross-sector and field-wide learning,” said Paula Gangopadhyay, Deputy Director of the Office of Museum Services. “Boston Children’s Museum offers unique capacity building training opportunities for both museum and library professionals, and we look forward to working with them to further early childhood learning in both fields.”

Boston Children’s Museum, in collaboration with the BUILD Initiative, a national effort that advances state work on behalf of young children, their families, and communities, will expand the existing project over a three-year timeline. Together with participating museums and libraries, they will maintain and improve existing networks in Massachusetts; scale pilot efforts in South Carolina and Virginia; launch new grassroots museum and library networks in Iowa, Mississippi, and New Mexico; and develop methods for network sustainability within and among the states.

“Over the past seven years, Boston Children’s Museum has collaborated with librarians, museum educators, and early childcare providers to ensure that all young children have the skills they need to fulfill their potential in school and beyond,” said Carole Charnow, President & CEO of the Boston Children’s Museum. “We are grateful for IMLS support to scale our programs to three additional states, for a total of six states, thereby assisting libraries and museums to provide critical resources for children and families in their communities.”

The Education Development Center (EDC) will serve as a third-party evaluator for the project, documenting progress and testing the model’s effectiveness in building institutional readiness to serve early learners.

IMLS has a long history of investing in early learning grants and initiatives, including past work with BUILD, as well as publications like Growing Young Minds. This initiative supports IMLS’s strategic plan goal of building the capacity of museums and library professionals to better serve community needs. For more information, please visit imls.gov.

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.

About Boston Children's Museum
Boston Children’s Museum engages children and families in joyful discovery experiences that instill an appreciation of our world, develop foundational skills, and spark a lifelong love of learning. More information about Boston Children’s Museum can be found at www.BostonChildrensMuseum.org. Become a fan of the Museum on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

National Leadership Grants for Museums