November 3, 2009

MLIS Students to Benefit from Laura Bush Grant Funding

VALDOSTA - The Institute of Museum and Library Services awarded a 2009 Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program grant for $680,327 to the Georgia Public Library Service in collaboration with Valdosta State University to fund the GPLS "Libraries Build Communities" program.

Lyn Hopper, assistant state librarian for library development, said the money will provide scholarships to students in the VSU Master of Library and Information Science program in an effort to provide 45 students with the expertise in community building necessary for excelling as public librarians.

“This grant will help GPLS strengthen community support for public libraries in Georgia, address Georgia’s shortage of librarians and provide a model for other states,” Hopper said.

VSU will recruit part-time faculty to offer curriculum content to meet instructional needs established by the program. GLS will provide seminars focused on community building during the second and third years of the grant period, as well as provide assessments and measurements regarding changes in students' community building attitudes, knowledge and skills.

Applications will be reviewed and participants selected by a committee that will include representatives from GPLS, VSU and the Georgia public library community. Students will be selected based on potential for successful graduate study, interest in public library community building, and commitment to work in a Georgia public library for at least three years following graduation.

Each qualifying student will receive a full in-state tuition scholarship to the program, which requires 39 semester hours for graduation. The first students are expected to enter the program in the fall 2010 semester and complete their course work within the three-year grant period. Subsequent groups will begin studies in spring and fall semesters of 2011. Students will be required to maintain a minimum 3.0 GPA in order to receive continued funding.

The total project budget is $844,647, with $164,320 in matching funds coming from GPLS and VSU. Approximately 77 percent of the grant funds will be for direct student support.

Since its inception in 2002, the IMLS Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program has funded the education and training of 3,220 master’s students; 186 doctoral students; 1,256 preprofessionals; and 26,206 continuing education students across the country. The program also supports grants for research related to library education and library staffing needs, curriculum development and continuing education and training.

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