July 11, 2014


IMLS Press Contact
Giuliana Bullard, 202-653-4799

Washington, DC—Today, IMLS announced three new awards to engage libraries and museums as key partners in comprehensive early learning strategies. Three separate awards totaling $771,854 will be awarded to the Georgia Public Library Service, OCLC, and the BUILD Initiative.

These new investments follow up on recommendations made in Growing Young Minds: How Museums and Libraries Create Lifelong Learners, a policy report that called upon policymakers, schools, funders, and parents to make full use of these vital, existing community resources. 

IMLS Director Susan H. Hildreth said, “Too many children are starting school without the academic and social skills they need for success. Libraries and museums are effective, but often overlooked, resources in our nation’s effort to turn around a crisis in early learning, exposing children to reading and powerful learning experiences in the critical early years and keeping them learning through the summer months. With these awards, IMLS is taking action to create new opportunities for children, especially those in the lowest socioeconomic status who are the least likely to be able to participate in library and museum programming.”

While IMLS continues to make investments at the project level including more than $6 million awarded in individual projects in libraries and museums in FY 2012 and 2013, the investments announced today are intended to make an impact at the systems level. Today’s investments will create stronger relationships among libraries, museums and state level early education providers and develop tools to speed the adoption of evidence-based practice throughout the library and museum communities.

The BUILD Initiative - Boston, MA
Award: $314,884

A cooperative agreement between IMLS and the BUILD Initiative will create deliberate and mutually beneficial connections between the efforts of museums and libraries and those of early childhood systems’ builders to support the growth and development of children from birth to age eight, with an emphasis on children from birth to age five. The partnership will build relationships across the fields/sectors and embed connections in ways that can be replicated and sustained. All objectives will be achieved through engagement with library, museum and early learning leaders in five pilot states: Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Washington.

Note: BUILD will present a webinar on the project on August 4th at 2:00 p.m. EST. Check the BUILD website in the coming weeks for more details: http://www.buildinitiative.org/OurWork/LearningCommunity/UpcomingEvents.aspx

Georgia Public Library Service - Atlanta, GA
Award: $249,895; Match: $103,449

This project is designed to provide a customized early literacy program within libraries to reach parents of young children. Youth librarians in Georgia’s public libraries will provide a learning environment using one of two programs, Prime Time or Every Child Ready to Read (ECRR), to educate parents and caregivers in the importance of early literacy. Monitoring and evaluation of the program will determine the benefits of providing the customized B4 early literacy program for parents of very young children. The evaluation will demonstrate whether Prime Time or ECRR works better in Georgia and which should be continued statewide after the pilot ends. The evaluation will examine the core curriculum for staff and the database-driven website to determine if these aspects enhanced the success of the Prime Time or ECRR library programs in creating a successful customized Birth to Four Early Literacy Program.

OCLC Online Computer Library Center, Inc. - Dublin, OH
Award: $207,075; Match: $69,129

The grant will support an 18-month project in five states and in partnership with Washington State Library and Thrive by Five Washington, two leaders in that state’s early learning efforts. The aim of the new program will be to introduce a new service model to public libraries for library staff to deliver interactive programs for young children that will impact early childhood literacy. Thousands of U.S. public libraries offer programs, such as story time, for young children and are already attuned to early literacy best practices. The methodology and tools used in this model were researched, designed and tested by the University of Washington, and piloted in 20 libraries in collaboration with Washington State Library from 2009 to 2014. The results showed that intentional focus on early literacy skills improved results for young children. The new service model, based on the rigorously researched and field-tested approach, can now be applied broadly to augment the efficacy of current library programs.

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 35,000 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 www.imls.gov and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

National Leadership Grants for Libraries