Libraries as Partners Project

August 29, 2023

ILA is pleased to participate as a state advisor in a recently awarded Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) National Leadership Grants for Libraries grant. Cynthia Robinson, ILA Executive Director, will serve as an advisor to the Illinois Fire Service Institute Library at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s project Libraries as Partners for Emergency Preparedness and Response in Times of Crisis, a $150,000 two-year investigation into partnerships between libraries of all types and community emergency response partners during crises.

The project will be guided at every step by a network of state and national advisors. In Year 1 through close collaboration with state advisors, the project will focus on a case study survey of the partnerships between Illinois libraries and community emergency response groups.

In Year 2, national advisors will help bring the conversation to the national level through the development of two Community Engagement Roundtable discussions on the survey findings and themes. This project will discover and promote the essential role that libraries play in community safety and well-being, and serve as the conversation starter for future discussions, collaborations, and research on library-community partnerships.

The project joins as co-partners the Illinois Fire Service Institute (IFSI), the Consortium of Academic and Research Libraries in Illinois (CARLI), and the School of Information Sciences at the University of Illinois (iSchool). The project team includes Dr. Lian Ruan, IFSI Head Librarian and Director of IFSI International Programs, as Project Director; Dr. Jessie Chin as Research Director; Sharon L. Comstock, Teaching Assistant Professor at the iSchool, as Coordinator for the Advisory Committee and National Advisory Board; Anne Craig, Director of CARLI, as Member Engagement Coordinator; Karen Brown, Professor Emerita, School of Information Studies, Dominican University, as Facilitator; and Kelda Habing, IFSI Research and Grants Librarian, as Project Assistant.

Keep an eye out for future updates about the Libraries as Partners project in the next few months!

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