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University of Iowa News Release

Nov. 6, 2003

UI Libraries Receives $392,000 Grant To Train New Librarians

The University of Iowa Libraries and UI School of Library and Information Science have received a $392,347 grant that help will recruit and train a new generation of librarians.

The grant will be shared with libraries at Iowa State University and the University of Nebraska. It's one of 27 grants awarded nationally as part of a $10 million initiative from the Institute of Museum and Library Services to make up for what is expected to be a significant shortage of librarians in the 21st century, said UI Librarian Nancy L. Baker. The grant will focus on the recruitment and education of university librarians serving the sciences and health sciences.

"We need librarians from a wide range of academic disciplines to work effectively with the full university community," said Baker. "Traditionally, it has been difficult to attract students who major in the scientific and technical disciplines to the profession even though librarianship offers them a special opportunity to use their scientific and technical knowledge throughout their career."

She added that the grant provides an opportunity for the libraries to experiment with effective ways of recruiting students with baccalaureate or graduate degrees in scientific or technical disciplines to UI's School of Library and Information Science where they will earn a master's degree in library and information science. The pilot project also offers an opportunity to couple coursework via the Iowa Communications Network with intensive work experience. Concurrent with their coursework, nine graduate students will be funded on assistantships at one of the three participating universities to work alongside experienced science and health science librarians. The project will draw from the knowledge and expertise of librarians as well as the unique environments at all three universities.

"The opportunity for library school students to work side-by-side with information professionals is one that benefits both parties immensely. Practice improves learning, and learning informs practice," said Olivia M.A. Madison, dean of Library Services at Iowa State University.

Susan Marks, coordinator for Human Resources and Diversity, UI Libraries, is the principal investigator for the grant.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Service, 300 Plaza Centre One, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Tom Snee, 319-384-0010, tom-snee@uiowa.edu.