IMLS awards $1.3 million to support iSchool-led research projects

The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) recently awarded a total of more than $1.3 million in funding for research projects led by faculty at the University of Washington Information School. The projects include efforts to help libraries combat misinformation, foster inclusion of neurodiverse people, and diversify the librarianship field.

Three of the awards were funded by the Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program, which supports the training and professional development of librarians and archivists and seeks to recruit, develop and retain a diverse workforce:

Valuing Library and Archives Labor: Assessing Internship and Fellowship Implications for the Library and Archives Community, awarded $318,989, will investigate the impact on the librarianship field from fellowships and internships focused on diversity, equity and inclusion. Led by iSchool Assistant Professor Marika Cifor, the project will produce guidelines for such fellowships and internships, designed to be broadly applicable in library and archival institutions and professional organizations.

Empowering Neurodivergent Librarians to Lead Inclusion in Libraries, awarded $491,500, will research libraries’ capacity to support the careers of neurodivergent librarians, who frequently face barriers to inclusion in library workplaces. Led by Associate Professor Hala Annabi and Professor Michelle H. Martin, the research team will produce a training program to be used by libraries and MLIS programs across the United States to foster inclusion and expand research on the experiences of neurodivergent librarians.

Open-Source Hardware Assembly, Repair, and Sustainability, awarded $317,332, will investigate the role of documentation in open-source hardware projects. Led by Assistant Professor Nicholas Weber, the project team will assemble open-source hardware devices and create case studies that report on the role documentation plays in their success or failure. The research will improve public institutions’ ability to use low-cost, environmentally responsible hardware devices.

A fourth project led by iSchool researchers is funded by the IMLS’s National Leadership Grants for Libraries program. Supporting the Development of Digital Playful Exploratory Resources to Combat Mis/disinformation through Online Intergenerational Co-design, awarded $249,917, will design a set of innovative online games in libraries to combat misinformation. The project will engage librarians, teens and children in creating a scalable curriculum for librarians to create their own play-based misinformation activities. The project is led by Associate Professors Jason Yip and Jin Ha Lee, along with Senior Principal Research Scientist Chris Coward. The iSchool researchers will collaborate with the Seattle Public Library, San Diego Public Library and rural libraries in Washington and Colorado.

iSchool researchers will also support three additional IMLS-funded projects:

Creating Space for Teen Mental Health, led by the Seattle Public Library, will work to expand libraries’ capacity to support teens’ mental health. iSchool Associate Professor Jin Ha Lee is among the co-principal investigators on the project, which was awarded $249,743.

Open Negotiation Education for Academic Libraries, granted $238,689, will produce open educational resources such as asynchronous learning modules, synchronous teaching support group materials to support group learning, and a set of academic library-based case studies. iSchool Teaching Professor Helene Williams is on the advisory board for the project, which is led by iSchool alum Katherine Macy, MLIS ’14, a librarian at Indiana University Purdue University-Indianapolis.

The TALENT Network, led by the University of Maryland iSchool, was awarded a $399,698 Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian program grant to pilot a national network that will help train the next generation of digital library and archives leaders. UW iSchool Assistant Teaching Professor Melanie Walsh is part of the project team.