Gant leads IMLS grant to engage libraries in US Ignite

Jon Gant, Research Associate Professor Director, Center for Digital Inclusion

The Institute of Museum and Library Services announced today that the Graduate School of Library and Information Science (GSLIS) at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign has been awarded a Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program grant in the amount of $99,168 for "Inclusive Gigabit Libraries: Learn, Discuss, and Brainstorm." With this IMLS support, GSLIS will hold a series of four continuing education forums to enhance understanding of how libraries can adopt and use next-generation Internet networks to address social inclusion through the organization US Ignite.

"Including libraries in the US Ignite effort has tremendous promise," said Susan Hildreth, Director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services. "I am expecting great results from the upcoming forums."

Professor Jon Gant, director of the proposed Center for Digital Inclusion at GSLIS and the principal investigator on the grant, said, "The project aims to help libraries develop applications and services that will meet the needs of the public, particularly underserved populations. Case studies will examine efforts to leverage ultra-high-speed Internet service to deliver socially inclusive library experiences that meet critical human development needs. The forums will give library leaders an opportunity to shape the next generation of the Internet."

The forums will provide an opportunity to discuss current practices and needs in libraries and to brainstorm new applications or service models that take advantage of ultra-high-speed connectivity, ultimately resulting in better and more robust service to library patrons. The first forum will be held in October 2012 at the Library and Information Technology Association Conference in Columbus, Ohio. Subsequent forums will be held at the California Library Association meeting in November, the Schools, Health & Libraries Broadband Coalition gathering held in March 2013, and the 2013 ALA Conference in Chicago.

GSLIS is partnering on this project with the American Library Association’s Office for Information Technology Policy and U.S. Ignite.

The Institute of Museum and Library Services
The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. Through grant making, policy development, and research, we help communities and individuals thrive through broad public access to knowledge, cultural heritage, and lifelong learning. To learn more about IMLS, please visit www.imls.gov.

US Ignite
US Ignite is an initiative to promote US leadership in developing applications and services for ultra-fast broadband and software-defined networks. It will foster the creation of novel applications and digital experiences that will transform healthcare, education and job skills training, public safety, energy, and advanced manufacturing. By serving as a coordinator and incubator of this ecosystem, US Ignite will accelerate the adoption of next-generation networks.  

The American Library Association’s Office for Information Technology Policy
The American Library Association’s Office for Information Technology Policy (OITP), together with its parent organization (the ALA), provides leadership for the development, promotion, and improvement of library and information services and the profession of librarianship in order to enhance learning and ensure access to information for all.

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