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IMLS Invites Civic-Minded Techies to Hack Agency Data

May 21, 2013 ET


IMLS Press Contact
Giuliana Bullard,

IMLS Invites Civic-Minded Techies to Hack Agency Data

Agency participates in first ever National Day of Civic Hacking

The first National Day of Civic Hacking will take place in communities across America—and at the White House—on June 1 and 2, 2013. The event will be the largest ever to bring together citizens from around the country to work with local, state, and federal governments—as well as private sector organizations—with the common goal of improving their community through technology. The Institute of Museum and Library Services will join other federal agencies in presenting national challenges that citizen hackers will tackle at more than 90 events across the country.

This event will bring together techies, entrepreneurs, do-gooders, activists, and others to collaboratively create, build, and invent tools using publicly-released data. For example, civic hackers are behind phone apps that provide important up-to-date information on public transportation schedules, they have created apps that allow people to report dangerous potholes to their local streets department, and they have helped local food shelters identify food excess and shortage in order to redistribute accordingly. 

National Day of Civic Hacking is a public-private-people partnership, and it is backed by the White House through the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP).  Twenty federal agencies have joined the charge including the Institute of Museum and Library Services, NASA, the Census Bureau, HHS, FEMA, the National Archives, Department of Labor, and the Department of Energy. 

As part of the event, IMLS will provide two challenges, one relating to public libraries and another relating to museums. The public library challenge will ask participants to use data from IMLS annual public library data collection efforts to develop tools that will help allow citizens and others to explore public library data in new ways. The museum data challenge will ask participants to build tools that help enrich IMLS national museum data collection efforts using administrative data from the MuseumsCount survey.

Participants can access information about the library and museum challenges and data sets at the website. 

“Libraries and museums are centers for civic engagement in communities across the country.  We encourage them to join us in this first ever National Day of Civic Hacking by hosting events and by using their own in-house expertise to rise to the challenge with new civic hacks that address community needs,” said IMLS Director Susan Hildreth.  “We can’t wait to see what kind of useful tools the nation’s online citizenry can create with IMLS data.”

To date, more than 80 cities in 32 states, as well as the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, have events registered. More than 700 individuals have reached out to help organize, support, or sponsor an event. The goal is for the National Day of Civic Hacking to take place in all 50 states and associated territories through about 100 events. After June 2, the White House will showcase successful hacks from the event.

To find an event near you, visit the website.  For more information about IMLS challenges, please contact Justin Grimes,

Intel is the national sponsor of the event and the operations team is led by SecondMuse includes Code for America, Innovation Endeavors, and Random Hacks of Kindness.

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 and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.