The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), the Federal agency that lends support to the nation's museums and libraries, responded to the nation's critical shortage of librarians by awarding nearly $2 million to universities and colleges to recruit and educate students in library and information science. The awards also provide advanced training, especially in digital technologies, to professional librarians.
Indiana University was one of the few fortunate recipients. Professor Danny Callison, at SLIS and newly appointed Executive Associate Dean of SLIS at IUPUI, was granted $73,005 for his Treasure Mountain Research seminar series. The IMLS grant will support advertising the seminar to a wide audience, providing scholarships to recruit a diverse representation of participants, and sponsoring sessions on research opportunities and work in progress.
Treasure Mountain is a research conference that provides an opportunity for researchers in education, library and information science, communication, ethnic and gender studies and related disciplines to come together to consider research themes related to information literacy, student achievement and assessment, and information skills instruction.
The conference has become a forum for the presentation of finished research, the reporting of research in progress, the discussion of research trends and future directions, and guidance for doctoral student research. Participants will also consider a variety of methods and frameworks for research that will enrich scholarship and increase understanding of literacy education.
"IMLS funding for the 2002 research retreat will be the second national school media research retreat I have developed through the Treasure Mountain series. The first was a gathering at Portland in 1996," Callison says. "That retreat gained national attention based on publication of the papers and lead to development of School Library Media Research, an online research journal underwritten by the American Association for School Librarians."
"These two efforts, along with national attention the IU school media program has received from the Library Power Project with the University of Wisconsin and the U.S. Dept of Education study on school libraries and national education goals have all helped to place our school media program in the top ten, in fact, number seven," Callison adds. "This retreat will help to enhance our national profile in school media again. The funds will be directed through our IUPUI campus, where 80% of our school library media students attend courses."
Funding from IMLS is very difficult to secure, there are many applications for projects.
Callison indicates, "My understanding is that we are one of seven funded in this category out of over 100 applications. This funding will allow sponsorship of 20 potential doctoral students for the retreat, scheduled for spring 2002 at The Elms near Kansas City. There is a dramatic shortage of educators in schools of library and information science who have expertise in school media and research abilities in instructional design and technologies. We hope our efforts will recruit several. The retreat will serve to help get potential doctoral students acquainted with the field and the research agenda."
The 2002 retreat is being planned in cooperation with Nancy Pickering Thomas, PhD, Emporia State University Emporia State University. "Carol Tilley, doctoral student at SLIS, worked with me on the Portland retreat and will also play a leading role in helping us organize doctoral student participation at Kansas City," he adds. The shortage of educators in the school library media field, both in higher education and public schools, will be detailed in KALIPER reports scheduled to be published next month by ALISE (Association for Library and Information Science Education) and authored by Callison and Tilley.
The Institute of Museum and Library Services awards National Leadership Grants for Libraries to enhance the quality of library services nationwide. Winning projects provide creative solutions to issues of national importance and provide leadership models for other organizations to emulate.
There are four categories of funding through IMLS' National Leadership Grants for Libraries. The Education and Training category supports professional development for librarians as well as recruitment and education of new librarians through graduate fellowships, traineeships, institutes, and other programs.
"The technology revolution has created an information bedlam, and consequently, a dire need for professionally trained information specialists," said Beverly Sheppard, Acting Director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services. "Throughout history, librarians have organized and evaluated the information we collect to advance the course of human understanding. It is no different today. The librarians we recruit, educate, and train with these grants will harness the present chaos of the Information Age and transform it into an unprecedented Age of Knowledge."
An independent Federal agency, the IMLS fosters leadership, innovation, and a lifetime of learning by supporting the nation's museums and libraries. Created by the Museum and Library Services Act of 1996, P.L. 104-208, IMLS administers the Library Services and Technology Act and the Museum Services Act. IMLS has an annual budget of approximately $230 million. The Institute receives policy advice from two Presidentially appointed, Senate confirmed entities: the National Commission for Libraries and Information Science and the National Museum Services Board.
For more information, including grant applications, contact IMLS at 1100 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Washington, D.C. 202-606-8536, or http://www.imls.gov.
Posted July 23, 2001