November 22, 2017

Public Libraries Benefit from Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Grants

By Lynn Blumenstein

Programs benefit prospective and current public librarians, public libraries, papraprofessionals

  • Recruitment of new librarians
  • Continuing ed to improve skills
  • Research into health issues, more

The federal Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) has awarded 33 grants totaling $20.4 million as part of the Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program, which since 2002 has provided more than $120 million to recruit, educate, and train new and existing librarians. 

Public libraries and their constituencies will benefit from the programs highlighted below. (Yesterday, we highlighted programs impacting academic libraries.)


The recipients include:

  • Serra Cooperative Library System, San Diego, will provide MLS scholarships at San Jose State University for 20 staffers working in multilingual communities.
  • Denver Public Library and partners will recruit and develop 18 librarians with the expertise to serve Hispanic communities.
  • Northern Kentucky University Research Foundation, Highland Heights, will provide scholarships for undergraduate degrees to 50 library staff members working in the high-poverty rural areas and will develop online paraprofessional programs.
  • Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, will train 30 new librarians who will work in libraries affected by recent hurricanes.
  • University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg, will increase the number of underrepresented minority librarians by providing scholarships for ten MLS candidates.
  • Montana State Library, Helena, will recruit and train 50 librarians and school library media specialists to work in rural communities in Idaho, Montana, South Dakota, and Wyoming.
  • Brooklyn Public Library, NY, will provide paid internships for 170 high school students.
  • University of Tennessee, Knoxville, will fund 15 MLS distance-education scholarships for technology support professionals already working in libraries in two Appalachian regions.

Continuing Education

Those awarded grants include:

  • Peninsula Library System, San Mateo, CA, will develop a fellowship program for librarians designed to improve library services to older adults.
  • Pacific Resources for Education and Learning, Honolulu, will recruit 80 information professionals from U.S.-affiliated Pacific Islander communities into a three-year program that will improve information services in libraries, museums, and archives.
  • Illinois State Library, Springfield, will train librarians over nine months in the latest Web 2.0 technology.
  • Oklahoma Department of Libraries, Oklahoma City, will sponsor five staff members serving in tribal archives, libraries, and museums in professional development opportunities over a three-year period.


The recipients include:

  • University of Maryland, College Park, will design a public-library-based program to provide high-quality, Internet-based health information to seniors from diverse backgrounds.
  • University of Texas at Austin will investigate public library service to victims of domestic violence.
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