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ARL Receives Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program IMLS Grant

Black professional woman at a computer with an overlay graphic suggesting global communications technology
image © iStock.com/metamorworks

Today, the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) announced that the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) will receive a Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program planning grant. The grant program is part of an IMLS $18.2 million investment in US library initiatives, meant to support leadership and diverse workforce development among “library and archive professionals.”

As one of the 32 selected projects, ARL will receive a grant amount of $97,737 to research and design a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Institute.

“The outputs will include a curriculum framework and assessment metrics for training content that will be piloted by ARL following the funding period. The audience for the institute will be staff members in cultural heritage and information organizations who want to build inclusive and equitable organizations and advance broader systemic change. The planning grant will leverage an existing ARL framework for competencies in racial equity jointly scoped by ARL, the American Library Association, the Association of College and Research Libraries, and the Public Library Association. The DEI Institute curriculum and supplemental materials, including reports and datasets, will be available through a project website.” (Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program ARL project description)

The project will contribute to critical skills needed within library and archives staff of all classifications to build and sustain inclusive organizations and practices. The development of authentically inclusive organizations will aid in the recruitment and, most importantly, the retention and professional success of people from diverse backgrounds who have been, historically, underrepresented or who have faced systemic barriers to retention and advancement within the profession.

“At a time when we are even more focused on structural inequality, the DEI Institute is a tangible way towards transforming our profession. We look forward to contributing to the field of racial equity and being collaborative partners in the process of advancing systemic change,” said Mary Lee Kennedy, executive director of ARL.


About the Association of Research Libraries

The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) is a nonprofit organization of 124 research libraries in Canada and the US whose mission is to advance research, learning, and scholarly communication. The Association fosters the open exchange of ideas and expertise, promotes equity and diversity, and pursues advocacy and public policy efforts that reflect the values of the library, scholarly, and higher education communities. ARL forges partnerships and catalyzes the collective efforts of research libraries to enable knowledge creation and to achieve enduring and barrier-free access to information. ARL is on the web at ARL.org.