JOHNSON CITY (Aug. 4, 2022) – The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) has announced it awarded $467,000 in grant funding to East Tennessee State University to fund a project known as Libraries Count.
Led by ETSU faculty member Dr. Alissa Lange, Libraries Count will be a professional learning program that supports library staff in their work integrating math into programming for young children and their families.
The grant comes as a part of 71 different awards totaling over $21 million by the IMLS to support libraries and archives across the United States. Out of 139 total proposals, Libraries Count was one of 39 initiatives that were selected for funding by the Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program. Of those selected for funding, Lange’s proposal was awarded the fifth highest amount.
“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.”
Lange, director of the Center of Excellence in STEM Education and the Early Childhood Education STEM Lab at ETSU, will be the principal investigator for the three-year project. She will be joined by the University of Alabama’s School of Library and Information Studies professor Dr. Bharat Mehra, who will be the co-principal investigator.
“I am so pleased to partner with such an incredible, interdisciplinary, 10-state team, with broad reach and expertise to support staff at libraries, one of our most important and beloved national institutions,” said Lange. “We will leverage the wealth of knowledge and programming now available around the critical area of early mathematics learning, to show how engaging and accessible it can be to everyone anytime, anywhere – including libraries.”
Lange and Mehra, working with a larger team, will co-develop Libraries Count with key stakeholders from a culturally responsive, strengths-based perspective in diverse settings; pilot, evaluate and iteratively improve the program; roll out and evaluate the impacts of the program at scale across the pilot and additional states; and publish the final program on WebJunction for libraries nationwide to access for free.
Clemmer College’s Dr. Carol Trivette, from Early Childhood Education, and Dr. Kwangman Ko, from the Department of Counseling and Human Services, are co-collaborators on the initiative.