TWU awarded $397,000 federal grant to educate rural librarians
Texas Woman’s University has been awarded $397,000 from the Institute of Museum and Library Sciences under the 2018 Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program for a project to educate future leaders in rural libraries. The university’s contribution brings the total amount of the project to $577,000.
Transforming Libraries into Community Anchors in Rural Texas, a three-year project in partnership with the Texas Library Association, will combine expertise in community informatics with experiential learning to prepare librarians whose work strengthens small, rural communities throughout the state.
Ling Hwey Jeng, Ph.D., director of TWU’s School of Library and Information Studies and principal investigator of the project, said many rural communities suffer from high unemployment and a growing gap in educational performance and business competitiveness due to the absence of technology and digital literacy skills training.
“Rural librarians who have expertise in digital literacy and a deep understanding of unique communities can be an important part of efforts to improve quality of life for residents,” Jeng said.
Transforming Libraries into Community Anchors in Rural Texas will build on TWU’s existing master of library science degree program and community informatics track to create an MLS/CI curriculum designed for a cohort of 20 librarians from small, rural communities in Texas. The MLS/CI program will extend traditional library roles by getting librarians out into their communities, working with community leaders and other residents to bring about needed and wanted change.
TWU library science faculty William Senn, Ph.D., and Carol Perryman, Ph.D., serve as co-principal investigators on the project.
“This grant highlights the relevance and timeliness of community informatics in approaching community challenges, particularly in rural Texas,” Senn said.
Perryman said, “This federal funding is a recognition of the potential of community informatics to bring real change, extend the traditional role of librarians and exemplify the vision for TWU to graduate thriving citizens who have a strong sense of community.”
For more information on the project, contact Jeng at SLIS@twu.edu or 940-898-2602.
The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s libraries and museums. For more information, visit www.imls.gov.