DUBLIN, Ohio, May 11, 2016—WebJunction, a program of OCLC Research, has received a $249,710 National Leadership Grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) for the two-year project, "Small Libraries Create Smart Spaces."
In partnership with the Association for Rural and Small Libraries, WebJunction will guide and support small and rural public libraries as they reimagine and reconfigure library space to support socially engaging and active learning programming that addresses a defined community need.
"WebJunction believes that learning is a social process that is more effective when it involves doing," said Sharon Streams, Director, WebJunction. "With the expert guidance and peer support offered by this project, more libraries in small communities will be encouraged to transform space into social centers of hands-on learning."
The project goals are to:
- foster social connection among people to form strong communities;
- create library spaces that provide active learning that encourages exploration and play;
- better prepare small libraries to quickly adapt the use of their physical space in response to evolving community needs and interests; and
- magnify libraries' key role in providing learning outside of the formal classroom, for all ages.
Participating libraries will be introduced to the principles of placemaking, community engagement and human-centered space design. After conducting community input, action planning and prototype activities, the libraries will implement a learning space using a starter set of materials.
The grant was awarded through the first cycle of the IMLS National Leadership Grants for Libraries program, which supports projects that address challenges faced by the library and archive fields and that have the potential to advance library and archival practice with new tools, research findings, models, services or alliances that can be widely replicated. More than $31 million was requested, and $6,339,441 was awarded for 20 projects.
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. The agency's mission is to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement. The agency's 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 IMLS on Facebook and Twitter.
About the Association for Rural and Small Libraries
The Association for Rural & Small Libraries, Inc. is a network of persons throughout the country dedicated to the positive growth and development of libraries. ARSL believes in the value of rural and small libraries and strives to create resources and services that address national, state and local priorities for libraries situated in rural communities.
As an open learning community, WebJunction provides online resources, programming and learning opportunities that build the knowledge, skills and confidence that library staff need to power relevant, vibrant libraries. A program of OCLC Research, WebJunction designs and delivers transformational programs that connect public library service to community needs such as lifelong learning, health and wellness, and economic success. More than 70 percent of all U.S. public libraries across all 50 states have participated in WebJunction programs and learning since 2003.
OCLC is a nonprofit global library cooperative providing shared technology services, original research and community programs so that libraries can better fuel learning, research and innovation. Through OCLC, member libraries cooperatively produce and maintain WorldCat, the most comprehensive global network of data about library collections and services. Libraries gain efficiencies through OCLC's WorldShare, a complete set of library management applications and services built on an open, cloud-based platform. It is through collaboration and sharing of the world's collected knowledge that libraries can help people find answers they need to solve problems. Together as OCLC, member libraries, staff and partners make breakthroughs possible.