The Syracuse University School of Information Studies is thrilled to announce that three faculty have earned prestigious IMLS grants as part of The Institute of Museum and Library Services 2022 funding program in support of U.S. Library and Archive initiatives.

Associate Professor Rachel Ivy Clarke was awarded $330,000 from the Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program to fund her collaboration with New York Library Association investigating barriers to entrance, retention, and advancement in the library workforce. Using a collaborative design-based research approach, the project team will train a group of practitioner-researchers to investigate systemic barriers across state and local systems that affect the education, hiring, and advancement of library and information science professionals in New York. They will use research findings to design and prototype initiatives and activities that reduce equity gaps and address issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion in the recruitment, development, and retention of faculty, library, and archives leaders from diverse and underrepresented backgrounds.

Professors Emerita Marilyn Arnone and Ruth Small were awarded $250,000 from National Leadership Grants for Libraries to develop, evaluate, revise, and disseminate an interactive web-based game requiring young children to use inventive thinking, inquiry, and decision-making skills to successfully solve a problem. The project team will collaborate with partners to garner advice, input, and feedback on various aspects of the project. Activities will include designing, developing, iterating, testing, and deploying a web-based game; working with librarians to develop an orientation guide, informational video, and implementation guide; designing and producing an e-book; conducting project evaluation; and expanding the project website to include the game and support material. 

“We are excited about the project because it extends the work we’ve done with recognized child inventors,” explains Arnon. “From interviewing more than 50 such children, we learned that while they are enthusiastic about the invention process, they often lack skills for accurate information-seeking or even framing a question, information literacy skills they need for success in their invention process. This is where librarians can make a huge difference. I also think we’ll learn a great deal from our child co-designers.”

The project will result in children in grades 2–4 and librarians having a game and program materials available that support the invention process and assist in their pursuit of preparing information-literate citizens.

“With the awards from our National Leadership Grants for Libraries and Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program, IMLS is supporting the desire and demand for libraries and archives to continue serving their communities in the most equitable and universal ways they can as we move out of the pandemic,” said IMLS Director Crosby Kemper. “Libraries and archives continue to be the most trusted and most wide-ranging service institutions in our communities while still adhering to their great traditional roles in knowledge preservation and dissemination, reading for pleasure and self-development, and as a civil and welcoming refuge.”