DETROIT (WWJ) — Wayne State University’s School of Library and Information Science has been named one of 42 “Librarians for the 21st Century” grants awarded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services to support library projects across the country.

As part of the Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian program, which addresses the education and training needs of library professionals, the Wayne State SLIS will receive $497,095 to work with the Historically Black Colleges and Universities Library Alliance.

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Together they will recruit, mentor and deliver an online master’s degree in library and information science degree to 10 students from underrepresented groups in order to achieve greater diversity among practicing library professionals.

“This new partnership promises to produce greater collaboration between our schools with the goal of increasing the diversity of the library and information science profession,” said Sandra Yee, dean of the Wayne State University Library System. “Working together will provide resources for students who may not otherwise have the necessary support to achieve admission, degree completion and, ultimately, professional employment.

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As the sole library school in Michigan to receive this IMLS grant, the Wayne State SLIS plans to recruit additional underrepresented students to the library profession, provide graduate library science educational opportunities to promising bachelor’s degree holders and library paraprofessionals and test the efficacy the online degree program to retain students from underrepresented groups through degree completion and employment as professional librarians.

“With these federal investments, libraries will be able to address challenges that face the library field, boost their professional workforce with training and education and better meet the needs of their communities with improved programs and services,” said IMLS Director Susan Hildreth.

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. Their mission is to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement.

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The Wayne State University Library System consists of the university’s six libraries: The David Adamany Undergraduate Library, the Purdy/Kresge Library, the Shiffman Medical Library, the Arthur Neef Law Library, the Science and Engineering Library, and the Reuther Library and the School of Library and Information Science.