Librarians from across the country will be gathering this week in Anaheim, California, for the annual meeting of the American Library Association (ALA). The library community faces big questions about how to keep their services evolving in the digital world. Several IMLS staff members will be on hand to answer questions about our grant, research, and program evaluation activities, and also to hear first-hand about trends, opportunities, and challenges.
We have recently announced several important grants. Among the recipients of the Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian grants this year are projects that support the education of librarians specializing in early childhood literacy; continuing education of public librarians, especially those serving in rural areas; and the professional development of those who preserve the nation’s cultural heritage. The program is supporting early career development research projects to support the investigations of three, tenure-track, untenured faculty in graduate programs of Library and Information Science: Ryan Shaw at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Chirag Shah and Rebecca Reynolds of Rutgers University. Their research will explore greater chronological and geographical access to historical collections, gaming and individual learning, and collaborative information retrieval, respectively.
In addition we have announced support for OCLC WebJunction to help engage libraries in national broadband adoption efforts. The grant will support several state librarians and Connect2Compete, a nonprofit that provides hardware, software, and training to help millions of Americans cross the threshold to broadband adoption. We also announced a planning grant to ALA and the Public Library Association to develop a summer reading app for release in 2013.
I’m also happy to announce a new “Talking Points” series. These are one-two page briefs with high-level data and talking points on key policy areas in which IMLS and the nation’s libraries have made deep investments. This will be a continuing series. So far we have focused on the impact of library services on early learning, new Americans, digital literacy, workforce development, and seniors. You can download the series here.
I am looking forward to seeing many of you in Anaheim.