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Libraries in the U.P. and Riverview Will 'Model the Future' Thanks to Nearly $108,000 in Federal LSTA Grants
May 13, 2009
The Library of Michigan today announced a total of $107,938 in 2009 Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) "Modeling the Future" funds, awarded to three libraries and library systems for innovative projects designed to better serve residents' needs. Those receiving federal funding are:
Peter White Public Library will use its grant to conduct a research and action project designed to investigate new methods of delivering quality library services to remote, rural or isolated communities. Superiorland Library Cooperative aims to involve teens in a multi-library effort to identify "library 2.0" best practices and implement them in a virtual branch library designed just for teens. Riverview Public Library will create a resource center that seeks to assist immigrants in southern Wayne County in their transition to American life.
"The LSTA advisory committee was impressed with the variety and fullness of the grant proposals we received this year. It's clear that community needs are driving the libraries' desire and direction for some truly original and replicable solutions," said State Librarian Nancy R. Robertson. "That's a key reason the Library of Michigan revised its long-term goals for LSTA funding. We wanted to ensure that these important federal dollars were being leveraged in the best way possible, for creative programming and service enhancements that will meet customers' needs today and in the future."
The competitive grant program is tied to Goal III of the Library of Michigan's LSTA Five-Year Plan for Michigan, Oct. 1, 2007 - Sept. 30, 2012. Goal III (Equity in Innovation) seeks to foster new, innovative services and programs by funding scalable pilot projects for use by libraries statewide to meet and anticipate Michigan residents' constantly changing needs for library service and information.
According to the Library of Michigan's LSTA coordinator, Karren Reish, this goal was developed to help individual libraries launch new programs and - by requiring the grant recipients to include a comprehensive project manual detailing the intricacies of their programs - inspire other libraries to adapt and use these innovative projects in their own communities.
Peter White Public Library - $33,050 for "Library Links" Project
"By setting up the grant program in this way, LSTA funds are used as seed money to encourage the development of creative programs and services that fulfill the federal and state LSTA goals by anticipating and meeting local residents' needs," Reish explained.
"Library Links" is a research and action project designed to investigate and implement innovative methods of providing library services in hard-to-reach communities. While the pilot project will be located in Marquette County in the U.P., its results will be applicable to many communities statewide and even throughout the country. The project will include a handbook with best practices and methodology.
The library will partner with its township advisory council and local government agencies to develop a network of service points - or Library Links - in rural, sparsely populated areas. Each link will have a book drop and provide a community-access point for receiving requested materials. Project leaders will also conduct a pilot test of a Web-based books-by-mail service, especially targeting people over 65 and those with disabilities.
Finally, the library will implement a train-the-trainer program and provide community volunteers with the skills to assist residents using existing and new online library services. The library will, with its community partners, also launch a marketing campaign to promote use of the Library Links program and to increase awareness of existing services.
Superiorland Library Cooperative - $49,860 for "What's a Librarian to Do? Remaining Relevant in a Fast-Changing World"
The cooperative wanted to create the "What's a Librarian to Do?" program to tackle a challenge faced by rural libraries: too little time, training and technical expertise to create programs that engage teens in developing new information-literacy skills. The LSTA-funded program will connect teens and library staff in one school public library (Calumet School Public Library) and four rural public libraries (Alpena County Library, Ironwood Carnegie Library, Ishpeming Carnegie Library and Spies Public Library in Menominee), where the teams will research and implement "library 2.0" best practices in a virtual library branched designed just for teens.
The ambitious project will offer a marketing-to-teens and branding campaign, designed by a local nonprofit youth agency (supported by the Kellogg Foundation); technology "petting zoos" that give libraries the latest games, gadgets and gizmos to bring teen non-users into the library and make librarians more comfortable with technology; pay teens to train their peers and adults on new technology; and ultimately create a "21st Century Library Teen Services Cookbook" that will include all promotion, training materials, costs, evaluations, and charts on bandwidth needed for each Library 2.0 Web activity.
Riverview Public Library - $25,028 for "Library Immigration Connection Center"
This innovative project will address three key challenge areas, helping to smooth the transition to American life for immigrant residents of southern Wayne County. The immigration center will focus on English as a second language (where immigrants will learn how to obtain and/or improve English language skills); Transition to American Life workshops (where topics might include the American educational system, financial/legal issues, finding employment, survival assistance, parenting and cultural awareness); and the Mobile Internet Lab (making it possible for the library to offer classes on important issues like studying for the GED, acquiring American citizenship, computer literacy and English as a second language).
The library will collaborate with Southgate's Adult Education English as a Second Language program, the Downriver Guidance Center, the Downriver Community Conference and the International Institute of Detroit to conduct workshops on the three target areas. Promotion efforts will be geared toward local resources like the Wayne County RESA (regional education resource agency), area school districts' bilingual programs, local churches and mosques and Internet outreach.
The LSTA program was enacted in September 1996, as a continuation of the former Library Services and Construction Act. The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) administers the LSTA program on the federal level and the Library of Michigan administers those funds on the state level, annually processing more than $4.9 million in grants to benefit Michigan libraries and the populations they serve. For more information about LSTA funding and the Library of Michigan's LSTA Five-Year Plan, visit www.michigan.gov/lsta.
The Library of Michigan is part of the Department of History, Arts and Libraries (HAL). Dedicated to enriching quality of life and strengthening the economy by providing access to information, preserving and promoting Michigan's heritage and fostering cultural creativity, the department also includes the Mackinac Island State Park Commission, the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs and the Michigan Historical Center.
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