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June/July 2015, Volume 7, Issue 6

Continuing Education Alert

Check Your Calendars!!

Independence Day
July 4

Paperback Book Day
July 30

National Inventor's Month

National Back to School Month

Women's History Month

Bad Poetry Day
August 18

Senior Citizen's Day
August 21

Women's Equality Day
August 26

Featured e-Resources of the Month
Foster adult literacy with State Library e-resources



Who is IMLS?

by Daria Bossman, State Librarian

IMLS is the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Their informative, interesting website is full of reports and research and shows you its larger role in advocating for museums and libraries.

By their own words, "The mission of IMLS is to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement... to provide leadership through research, policy development, and grant making. IMLS supports key issues of national concern" such as literacy, education, lifelong learning, technology, broadband access, health issues, immigration, local economic development, jobs, etc.

It is a small agency with a relatively small budget by federal standards, birthed out of the Department of Education in the late 1990s, so it is still relatively limber and flexible. It manages several large grants and research projects, does research on behalf of museums and libraries and advocates for their state and local support. It is an effective agency among the giants who spill out of DC and beyond. It puts out amazing statistics, based on what the states feed them in the annual Public Library Survey, and advocates for the access for all citizens to obtain freely available information. This is something that we often take for granted in this technology-rich age where it "appears" like most everyone has a smart phone and Internet access. Most librarians know differently for the poor have neither and often are not equipped with basic English literacy skills.

IMLS staff is quick to respond. Just like I hope we respond at the state level when you call us, we call them, and they respond quickly and cheerfully. They provide amazing support for the states. Yet few citizens or even state or local leaders know they exist. Their "Grants to States" program is one of their most long-standing and successful. If a state maintains a current Five Year Plan based on local needs and IMLS priorities, if the state's goals are routinely evaluated and if the state matches a percentage of the funding, states are eligible for this annual federal funding. South Dakota currently receives $996,021. You can review the SD State Library profile at this website:

This is not a huge dollar amount, but it pays for statewide access to nearly 40 specialized proprietary databases available in all public and school libraries or to private citizens via our SDSL e-card, provides for interlibrary loan support and fully supports our Braille and Talking Book program. Ask SD students, teachers and citizens who rely upon these resources/services and one quickly understands just how significant these dollars are!

In August one of the IMLS state liaisons, Michele Farrell, will spend a week in eastern South Dakota and in Pierre. The last visit was in August 2009. We are preparing for her visits and preparing documents for her review. I thought it was interesting that one of the questions on the form asked if the State Library is the "official agency ... charged by law... with the extension and development of public library services throughout the state." Yes, indeed, I was happy to quote SD state statute 14-1-42. And speaking of law, 20 U.S.C. § 9121 and 20 U.S.C. § 9141 federally codifies IMLS's purposes and its priorities for the states. This is our measuring stick as to how well we are doing to support your local school and public libraries... to support our democracy and access of information for everyone. But you be the judge!

In the coming years we will hold meetings across the state to see how we are doing and to prepare for the writing of our next Five Year Plan. If you can't wait, give me a call at 1-800-423-6665 and let's talk. I always enjoy talking to school administrators, teachers, librarians, trustees and city officials. I'd be happy to answer your questions, listen to your ideas or concerns or steer you to an expert in our office.

LSTA-specified "Grants to States" Priorities

  • expand services for learning and access to information and educational resources in a variety of formats, in all types of libraries, for individuals of all ages in order to support such individuals' needs for education, lifelong learning, workforce development, and digital literacy skills;
  • establish or enhance electronic and other linkages and improved coordination among and between libraries and entities for the purpose of improving the quality of and access to library and information services;
  • provide training and professional development, including continuing education, to enhance the skills of the current library workforce and leadership, and advance the delivery of library and information services;
  • enhance efforts to recruit future professionals to the field of library and information services;
  • develop public and private partnerships with other agencies and community-based organizations;
  • target library services to individuals of diverse geographic, cultural, and socioeconomic backgrounds, and to individuals with limited functional literacy or information skills;
  • target library and information services to persons having difficulty using a library and to underserved urban and rural communities, including children from families with incomes below the poverty line ... ;
  • develop library services that provide all users access to information through local, state, regional, national, and international collaborations and networks...





Braille, broadband, community, continuing education, funding, grants, health, IMLS, interlibrary loan, law, literacy, policy, public libraries, reports, research, school libraries, standards, statistics, technology

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