Today’s libraries are developing new ways to help their communities maximize educational and economic opportunities. The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), the primary federal funder of the nation’s 123,000 libraries, is launching a series of meetings to hear from a broad range of stakeholders about future IMLS funding strategies, particularly for the agency’s National Leadership Grant program. The kickoff event, to be held at the New York Public Library on April 29, will examine how IMLS can best support national digital initiatives.
IMLS Deputy Director for Libraries Maura Marx will lead the series of nationally webcasted meetings with library leaders and other experts. IMLS invites broad participation via the webcasts and social media. Library professionals and the public are invited to view live webcasts of the meeting and to participate via Twitter at #imlsfocus.
These interactive events will spotlight the importance of strong libraries to benefit all Americans and will explore three areas of funding that align with the agency’s three goals, supporting libraries’ role in providing opportunities for lifelong learning, anchors for community engagement, and access to content.
The agency is encouraging potential applicants to engage in and contribute to these discussions. In the summer, IMLS will release a revised National Leadership Grant application that will reflect the priorities identified during these meetings. IMLS intends to pivot its grant-making strategy to focus on a few specific library challenges with the purpose of making a more significant comprehensive impact in these areas.
During the first meeting at the New York Public Library, participants will examine the “hubs model” of content aggregation and consider areas for expansion. The day-long meeting will examine the state of video and e-book services, barriers to broad access, challenges and opportunities in digital curation and stewardship, innovation in “hacking” the library, and digital literacy activities. The discussion will be framed with the goal of identifying concrete insights for funding, future research, and other tangible outcomes.
The topics, locations, and dates for the three meetings follow.
Goal: Access to Content: National Digital Initiatives
New York Public Library
Goal: Anchors for Community Engagement: Learning Spaces in Libraries
San Francisco Public Library
Goal: Opportunities for Learning: STEM Learning
Chicago Public Library
The IMLS National Leadership Grants for Libraries program invests $11 million annually in projects that improve professional practice with implications far beyond the grantee institutions. The grants help drive innovation and support projects with national impact. This springtime meeting series is designed to capture input from a broad range of library representatives and organizations to help IMLS focus its approach to supporting innovation in the nation’s libraries.