IMLS Releases Grant Guidelines for Learning Labs in Libraries and Museums
This Learning Labs initiative is part of President Obama’s “Educate to Innovate” campaign, a nationwide effort to increase student participation and improve student performance in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs.
The program, in partnership with the Urban Libraries Council and the Association of Science-Technology Centers, will support the planning and design of up to 30 learning labs in libraries and museums. The labs are intended to engage middle- and high-school youth in mentor-led, interest-based, youth-centered, collaborative learning using digital and traditional media. Inspired by YOUmedia, an innovative digital space for teens at the Chicago Public Library, and innovations in science and technology centers, projects are expected to provide prototypes for the field and be based on current research about digital media and youth learning.
The program also aims to build a “community of practice” among the grantee institutions—grantees will be required to participate, in-person and online, for technical assistance, networking, and cross-project learning.
The program announcement is available at the IMLS website, as are the grant guidelines. Proposals must be submitted through grants.gov no later than Aug. 15, 2011 (look for funding opportunity number LLP-FY11). Awards will be announced in November 2011.
“America’s libraries and museums will become even more powerful innovation hubs for our young people,” said Susan Hildreth, IMLS director. “This exciting national collaboration will engage young people in learning that is interest-based, youth-centered, flexible, and collaborative using innovations already taking place in science and technology centers, art museums, libraries, and other cultural institutions.”
Here’s a useful FAQ (pdf) about the Learning Labs project. A webinar for interested applicants to learn more about the grant program and application process is scheduled for Tuesday, July 12, at 3 p.m. EST. Check the MacArthur-IMLS partnership page in case of scheduling changes.
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