Erie, PA, October 14, 2012 --(PR.com
)-- The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) has awarded more than $2.5 million to museums and libraries developing innovative programs to prepare young children for school and to ensure they don't lose ground over the summer. These projects, part of an IMLS initiative to support the goals of the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, were among those receiving National Leadership Grants (NLG) announced by IMLS last week.
In December 2011, IMLS announced that it would provide up to $2 million over two years to museums and libraries for projects that further the work of the campaign, which aims to increase the number of low-income children reading on grade level by the end of third grade. Museums and libraries throughout the U.S. answered the call with so many strong proposals that IMLS awarded more than $2.5 million this year and plans to repeat the call again next year.
Despite major public and private investments, more than 80 percent of children in poverty are not reading at grade level by the third grade. This sets children up for failure in the later grades, fueling achievement gaps and dropout rates. Aligning IMLS grants with the goals of the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading makes it possible for libraries and museum to stand together with the 124 cities, counties, and towns that have developed plans to improve early literacy and young children's chances for educational, economic, and social success. IMLS plans to broadly disseminate the results of these grants to continue to improve library and museum service nationwide.
"I am delighted at the response to this effort," said IMLS Director Susan H. Hildreth. "The projects we are supporting are as diverse as the communities we will be reaching. They involve a wide range of partners such as schools, Head Start, the United Way, and Boys and Girls Clubs. These initiatives demonstrate the power of libraries and museums as community anchors that can help us reach children early and be a consistent presence throughout the school year and beyond."
A total of $2,557,772 has been awarded to museums and libraries in 19 communities across the United States, including eight that are working with the campaign. Many of the awards involve partnerships at the local, state, and national levels. Dozens of museums, libraries, and community organizations will be engaged in coordinated efforts to act on the latest research and provide opportunities that really make a difference for young children and their parents and caregivers.
"We need to reach these children before they enter kindergarten, and we need to keep them learning through the summer," said Ralph Smith, managing director of the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading and a senior vice president at the Annie E. Casey Foundation. "Museums and libraries are key partners for our communities."
The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, launched in early 2011, is a collaboration among foundations, national nonprofits, states, and communities across the nation to ensure that more children in low-income families succeed in school and graduate prepared for college, a career, and active citizenship.
Erie Art Museum – Erie, PA, Amount: $245,348
The Erie Art Museum has partnered with the three largest early childhood providers in Erie County and four social service agencies serving recently resettled refugees to provide children, aged 0-5, with programs to promote school readiness through music and song. The project will train staff at the partner childcare providers and reach parents through an outreach campaign. At the same time, the museum will train refugee women for positions in American daycare where they can promote school readiness through music and song from their diverse cultures.
About the Institute of Museum and Library Services
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. Our grants, policy development, and research helps communities and individuals thrive by providing broad public access to knowledge, cultural heritage, and lifelong learning. To learn more about IMLS, please visit www.imls.gov.