The goal of this pilot was to support projects that strengthen the ability of small and/or rural libraries and archives to serve their communities and to build grantee capacity through participation in a mentor-led community of practice.
Washington, DC—The Institute of Museum and Library Services announced today the release of a final report on the Accelerating Promising Practices for Small and Rural Libraries (APP) Program. The APP pilot initiative launched in 2018 under the National Leadership Grants for Libraries Program. The goal of the pilot was to support projects that strengthen the ability of small and/or rural libraries and archives to serve their communities and to build grantee capacity through participation in a mentor-led community of practice. At the same time, IMLS hired the TCC Group – a third-party evaluator – to conduct an independent evaluation of the project so that IMLS can apply lessons learned from the pilot to design future small and rural library efforts. The evaluation, completed in March 2023, outlines its findings from the pilot program.
Findings from the Accelerating Promising Practices for Small and Rural Libraries Program included:
90% of participants found that the APP mentors, provided to the participants as part of the program design, were valuable or very valuable to them.
80% of capacity- building activities were highly effective for APP program participants.
88% of participants integrated learnings from their topically focused Community of Practice into their IMLS-funded project.
100% of participants interviewed found some value in being a part of a cohort.
“The Accelerating Promising Practices pilot sought to address a gap in federal funding for small and rural libraries, testing out various capacity building and implementation support approaches in order to understand how IMLS can better serve libraries,” explains IMLS Deputy Director of Library Service, Cyndee Landrum. “I’m excited to learn how effective our efforts were and how we might apply the evaluation results to further craft more targeted grant opportunities for small and rural libraries.”
“Small and rural libraries make up a significant portion of libraries in America. These institutions play a central role in providing information and resources to hard-to-reach populations. At IMLS we strive to provide more support for these libraries by testing out different ways to help them be successful with applying or and implementing programs with federal funds” states IMLS Director, Crosby Kemper. “This evaluation report tells us how we did with our test efforts and gives us an opportunity to improve upon future grantmaking models for these specific institutions.”
IMLS recognizes the importance of reflective practice and continual improvement in our commitment to the agency’s mission to advance, support, and empower America’s small and rural libraries. IMLS will be providing a summative response to the evaluation findings of this report in early 2024 which will reflect on the report and how to apply the evaluation results in future endeavors.
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. IMLS envisions a nation where individuals and communities have access to museums and libraries to learn from and be inspired by the trusted information, ideas, and stories they contain about our diverse natural and cultural heritage. To learn more, visit www.imls.gov and follow us on Facebook and LinkedIn.