IMLS Awards Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Grant to Support L.A. as Subject Digital Residency and Training Program

Posted by Bill Dotson

IMLSThe Institute of Museum and Library Services recently announced a $680,395 grant to support a residency and training program developed collaboratively by the USC Libraries; Gerth Archives and Special Collections at California State University, Dominguez Hills; Oviatt Library at California State University, Northridge; and the L.A. as Subject research alliance of 230 archives hosted by the USC Libraries.

The program will train recent MLIS graduates as well as 150 staff and volunteers at 30 Los Angeles community and neighborhood archives in skills related to digital collections management and help to remove barriers preventing smaller, less-resourced archives from making their primary historical collections accessible via digital platforms such as the USC Digital Library, digital libraries maintained by CSUDH and CSUN, Calisphere, and the Digital Public Library of America.

The 30 participating L.A. as Subject archives include the Tom & Ethel Bradley Center, California African American Museum, California State University Los Angeles’ East L.A. collections, Campo de Cahuenga, Compton 125 Historical Society, Glendale Public Library Arts & Culture Department, the Historical Society of Long Beach, the Japanese American National Museum, the Los Angeles Police Museum, Pasadena Museum of History, Rancho Dominguez Adobe, the San Fernando Valley Historical Society, the San Gabriel Mission Playhouse, San Pedro Bay Historical Society, the Tradeswomen Archives, and J. Michael Walker, creator of the All the Saints of the City of the Angels project.

Gerth Archives and Special Collections at CSUDH, the Oviatt Library at CSUN, and the USC Libraries will each host one resident for a 2-year term starting in May of 2019. The residents, who will be recent MLIS graduates with an interest in community archives and histories—as well as digital projects—will receive mentoring and training from experienced digital library and archival professionals at each partner institution. The residents will also work closely with 10 L.A. as Subject members in their home institution’s neighborhood or areas of collecting interest.

The project team includes Principal Investigator Marje Schuetze-Coburn of the USC Libraries; Co-Principal Investigators Ellen Jarosz of the Oviatt Library at CSUN, Rachel Mandell of the USC Libraries, and Greg Williams of Gerth Archives and Special Collections at CSUDH; Thomas Philo of CSUDH; Steve Kutay of CSUN; Deborah Holmes-Wong, Giao Luong Baker, Liza Posas, Tim Stanton, and Claude Zachary of the USC Libraries; consultants Marianne Afifi and Cindy Mediavilla; and Marva Felchlin, formerly of the Autry Museum of the American West. Many team members worked together to develop a previous, IMLS-supported residency program focused on archival skills and community-based collections.

The 2018 grant for the L.A. as Subject Digital Residency and Training Program was among 45 grants totaling $8.1 million to libraries across the United States as part of the IMLS’s Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian and National Leadership Grants programs.