By: J.D. Ross
(315) 443-3094

The School of Information Studies (iSchool) and its Center for Digital Literacy (CDL) have been awarded a National Leadership Grant for $190,000 from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).

The two-year grant, entitled “Investigating Self-Determination Variables in Summer Reading Program Participants,” proposes research that has the potential to make a significant contribution to the library research literature in the areas of youth and information literacy.

The focus of this research, assessing the connections between free voluntary reading in public library summer reading programs for youth and the development of information literacy skills, has never been undertaken in any large-scale way. Researchers hope that their findings will help provide strong support for the importance of such reading programs in public libraries.

The CDL believes that study results will yield a better understanding of the relationship between free voluntary reading and information literacy, and between intrinsic motivation to read and information literacy.

Dr. Stephen Krashen, expert in reading and advocate of free voluntary reading programs in libraries, will serve as advisor and consultant to the project throughout the grant period. Marilyn P. Arnone, Associate Professor of Practice at the iSchool and co-director of the CDL is the principal investigator on the grant, and Ruth V. Small, Professor and founding Director of the CDL is the co-principal investigator.

“We are going to collet data from 12 library reading programs, including ones here in the local area from the Onondaga County library system,” said Arnone.

“The grant ties nicely into the research we do at the CDL, and we have done a great deal of work with school libraries in the past, and we’re excited to be able to extend this connection to the public libraries as well,” Arnone continued.

“Summer reading programs have long been a tradition for public libraries. Understanding the value and impact of voluntary reading among youth will be critical in defining best practice in summer reading program design,” said Sari Feldman, Executive Director of the Cuyahoga (Ohio) County Public Library, who is also a member of the project’s advisory committee.

National Leadership Grants from the IMLS typically support projects that have the potential to advance museum, library, and archival practices.