Wednesday, September 25, 2013
Reed Announces Nearly $800,000 to Help RI Libraries Branch Into Future
WASHINGTON, DC – Thanks to a law authored by U.S. Senator Jack Reed, several Rhode Island libraries will receive nearly $800,000 in federal grants from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). The Providence Public Library, in partnership with the Cranston Public Library, will use nearly $500,000 to help boost lifelong learning opportunities and increase access to digital literacy programs. The Providence Community Library will receive $250,000 to partner with Ready to Learn Providence on “Ready for K!,” a school readiness program. The University of Rhode Island (URI) will also use a $50,000 grant to develop “Media Smart Libraries: Building Partnerships to Support Children in a Digital Age.”
The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 122,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. Its mission is to create strong libraries and museums that connect people to information and ideas.
Senator Reed authored and successfully passed the bipartisan Museum and Library Services Act of 2010, which annually provides needed federal assistance to museums and libraries across the country. In addition to museum grants, Reed’s law includes state formula funding and competitive grants, administered by IMLS, which help libraries meet community needs, better utilize technology to provide enhanced services, and reach underserved populations. Reed, a member of the Appropriations Committee, annually champions funding for these federal library programs.
“I commend these public libraries and their community partners on winning these prestigious grants. This federal funding will help boost both childhood and adult literacy and improve services for library users. I appreciate IMLS for recognizing the importance of these initiatives and supporting Rhode Island’s public libraries,” said Reed, who last year received two of the library community’s highest national honors: the Crystal Apple from the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) and Honorary Membership from the American Library Association (ALA).
“With our mission to inspire lifelong education among all Rhode Islanders, Providence Public Library has a long tradition of developing and implementing innovative, partner-driven adult literacy initiatives such as the ALLACCESS effort, made possible with this IMLS funding. We are pleased and expect, along with our many high-performing partners who share our vision for helping Rhode Island adults achieve their education goals, that the expanded resources that this grant enables will substantially increase our ability to serve adults with low education attainment, low English-literacy, disabilities, and/or low digital literacy,” said Providence Public Library Director Dale Thompson.
The three competitive grants for Rhode Island, made possible through IMLS’s National Leadership Grants program, are:
Providence Public Library: $498,172
To address the needs of the underserved population of Providence, the Providence Public Library will use its grant to create “Adult Lifelong Learning Access (ALLACCESS),” aimed at increasing access to digital literacy, adult education, and workforce services across the state. Providence Public Library along with Cranston Public Library and their statewide partners will demonstrate methods for integrating library, adult education, and workforce services to support adults with low education attainment; low English literacy, disabilities, or low digital literacy. The Providence Public Library will provide a matching amount of $781,834 for the project.
Providence Community Library: $250,000
Providence Community Library will partner with Ready to Learn Providence on “Ready for K!,” a school readiness program designed to reduce the achievement gap for children who are entering kindergarten and have not participated in formal early learning programs. Major project components include professional development for children's librarians and family literacy programming, including the creation of literacy kits with books and activities. The project will help ensure that students enter kindergarten ready to learn and will demonstrate the library's important role as a partner in meeting this essential community need. The Providence Community Library will provide a matching amount of $88,516 for the project.
University of Rhode Island: $50,000
The University of Rhode Island will use this grant to develop “Media Smart Libraries: Building Partnerships to Support Children in a Digital Age,” including a yearlong community outreach program that will highlight the best strategies for using children's film and digital media to increase literacy. The program will bring together the Providence Children's Film Festival, the Rhode Island Office of Library and Information Services, the American Center for Children and Media, and the Children's Media Association. Together they will address current needs such as filling in the knowledge gaps of children's librarians and fostering collaboration between librarians and media professionals and between schools and libraries. The program will also be an experiential learning opportunity for those library and information sciences graduate students that will help their professional development of leadership and communication skills.
In this round of funding, IMLS is awarding grants for 62 library projects totaling $14,670,662 million. The libraries were selected from more than 285 applications requesting a total of nearly $37,977,530 million. Many of the institutions receiving grants are required to provide matching funds, and as a result these institutions are leveraging an additional $9.9 million in non-federal spending this year.