By: Diane Stirling
(315) 443-8975

Two School of Information (iSchool) library program faculty members have just been awarded $752,503 in grants from the 2013 Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian grants program administered by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).

A $498,788 grant was awarded to Dr. Barbara Stripling, assistant professor of practice, to develop a new initiative, “PLUS-NY: Empowering Voices,” through the iSchool’s Master of Science-level Library and Information Science program.

In addition, a $253,715 grant was awarded to Dr. Ruth Small, Laura J. and L. Douglas Meredith Professor, to extend and enhance Project ENABLE, a program in the continuing education category.

The grant announcements were made today by the IMLS. A total of $6.1 million in grants was awarded from the program this year. The total number of grant applications received was 84, and 21 grants were awarded. Syracuse University’s iSchool received two of the four awards presented to schools from New York State.

Professor Stripling will develop the PLUS-NY program in partnership with New York City’s Department of Education, along with Dr. Small as co-principal investigator. The program will prepare 15 current New York City teachers to become school library media specialists. As master’s students at the iSchool at Syracuse University, they will learn the special skills and knowledge needed to prepare them for instructional leadership and library service in high-needs schools in New York City. The program addresses a critical shortage of qualified and well-trained school library media specialists. PLUS-NY also will serve as a national model of instructional leadership and library service development by focusing on empowering professional and student voices through the library, according to the Institute.

“I am thrilled for us to have this opportunity to prepare 15 New York City teachers to serve as school librarians in high-needs New York City schools.  The impact they will have on the lives of their students will be profound,” Dr. Stripling commented. 

The grant for Dr. Small’s Project ENABLE (Expanding Nondiscriminatory Access By Libraries Everywhere) is the third me the project has been awarded funding through IMLS. The project was originally funded in 2010, and now will continue until 2015 with the newest additional funds.


Project ENABLE is a partnership between the iSchool’s Center for Digital Literacy and the Burton Blatt Institute at Syracuse University. Dr.Small is PI on the project and William Myhill (BBI) and Renee Franklin (iSchool) are co-PIs. Project ENABLE has focused on face-to-face and online training for school librarians to help them better design and implement their library and information programs and services for students with disabilities. The current grant will expand the training to public and academic librarians nationwide, providing Web-based professional development opportunities and increasing their competence and confidence to provide high-quality services to people with autism, ADHD, and other disabilities at a time such diagnoses are at an all-time high.

“This grant reinforces the support IMLS has for our Project ENABLE and for the record of quality they have come to expect from our Center for Digital Literacy,” Dr. Small noted. “We are thrilled to now be able to expand the project to public and academic libraries, where we know the need is just as great as in school libraries.”