The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) announced that the Library Science degree program in the College of Education at East Carolina University is the recipient of a 2014 Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian (LB21) grant for the project “North Carolina Economically Disadvantaged and Diversity Scholarships.”
The IMLS awarded ECU $492,324 in funding that will support library science recruitment efforts and full-tuition scholarships at ECU for 30 incoming master of library science (MLS) students with the first cohort starting fall 2014. The grant has a matching requirement using non-federal funds for all recipients, bringing the grand total to $657,369.
In addition to tuition costs, the grant will cover university fees and offer a book stipend for the entire degree program until spring 2017. Membership to the North Carolina School Library Media Association is included as well as a travel stipend to attend one of their conferences.
ECU’s location and mission to support eastern NC aligned with the IMLS’s charge to prepare librarians who will work in high-need districts.
“Rural public schools in the economically depressed communities of eastern North Carolina face daunting challenges in recruiting and retaining school librarians,” according to the IMLS’s website with descriptions for each institution receiving the 2014 grant. “East Carolina University and its partner, the North Carolina School Library Media Association, will recruit and educate 30 MLS school librarians from economically disadvantaged and historically underrepresented backgrounds and place them in school library media centers. The project will use the ‘grow your own’ model, focusing on individuals who want to stay and work in eastern North Carolina by completing their degrees in an all-online degree program.”
Reviewers of submission proposals identified ECU’s LS program as one that has the potential to grow the number of enrolled LS students, conduct the necessary research that will support successful recruitment efforts and the education of the next generation of librarians, and enhance curricula within graduate schools of library and information science, as well as programs of continuing education for librarians and library staff, according to the acceptance letter from Maura Marx, deputy director for library science at the IMLS.
“This project will increase the number of trained, professional media specialists that reflect the diversity of their communities and increase the ability to connect with those diverse populations,” said Dr. John Harer, MLS degree program coordinator in the College of Education at ECU.
IMLS accepted 82 grant proposals from libraries requesting more than $24 million. In total, the organization granted $7.5 million to 23 institutions across the country and the recipients are matching these awards with $3.6 million in non-federal funds. IMLS received 82 applications for the program this year.
“Librarians and staff from all types of libraries, from school media centers to rare book collections to archives, need to be prepared to meet the changing informational and educational needs of their customers and constituents,” said IMLS Director Susan H. Hildreth. “The Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program helps them meet those needs with projects for continuing education, training, professional development, and early career research.”
About the Library Science Program at ECU
The master of library science (MLS) graduate degree program is the largest producer of school-library media-coordinator graduates in the state and is the largest program in the College of Education at ECU. The library science program at ECU has prepared library professionals since 1939 with a high-tech and hands-on emphasis, providing a web-based course of study using new and emerging technologies.
Our online program is especially attuned to the needs of nontraditional students and is designed for students seeking employment as librarians and information professionals in pre-K–12 schools, universities, community colleges, and public libraries.
The program’s mission statement: The master of library science program, reflecting the missions of East Carolina University and the College of Education, prepares library professionals to serve, lead, and partner in their communities.
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 17,500 museums. Our mission is to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement. Our 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 us on Facebook and Twitter.
IMLS News Release: Grant Awards Announcement: FY 14 Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program