I was quite happy to see last week’s announcement of awardees of IMLS grants for the National Leadership Grants for Libraries Program and the Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program. No; I didn’t receive a grant. But we are named collaborators on three of them. Such cooperative efforts are key to our policy work, as there is only so much that the Office for Information Technology Policy can achieve on its own. But by working with talented and effective partners, we expand our reach and impact considerably.
We look forward to working with Professor Mega Subramaniam of the University of Maryland on her effort to develop and deliver a post-master’s certificate in Youth Experience (YX) design. Even better, ALA’s Young Adult Library Services Association is another project partner. This project focuses on the development of a 12-credit online post-master’s certificate program focused on learning sciences including topics like adult mentorship, participatory design, and design thinking. Mega is also part of the advisory committee on our recently-announced Libaries Ready-to-code Project, a collaboration between Google and ALA.
One project examines how rural libraries address the challenges of Internet connectivity with hotspot lending programs. Research outcomes will address the role of rural libraries in local information ecosystems, the impact of hotspot lending programs on users’ quality of life and digital literacy, community outcomes of these programs, and practical requirements for offering hotspot lending programs. We look forward to supporting the efforts of Professor Sharon Strover at the University of Texas and her team.
Finally, we are pleased to be associated with principal investigator Iris Xie, Professor, University of Wisconsin—Milwaukee and her effort to develop digital library design guidelines on accessibility, usability, and utility for blind and visually impaired (BVI) users. This project will generate three products: 1) digital library design guidelines, organized by types of help-seeking situations associated with accessibility, usability, and utility; 2) a report on the current status of how digital libraries satisfy BVI users’ help needs; and 3) a methodology that can be applied to other underserved user groups to develop similar guidelines. Our involvement with this project will complement our other work on improving access to information resources for people with disabilities.
Congratulations to the grant recipients and we look forward to productive and interesting work ahead.