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For Immediate Release: June 24, 2009
Contact: Mary Stadick Smith - (605) 773-7228

Cooperative effort lands grant for South Dakota librarians

South Dakota is part of a collaborative that has received a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. The $730,659 grant provides scholarships to recruit and educate 50 librarians and school library media specialists to work in the region’s rural communities.

The partnership of the South Dakota State Library, Montana State Library, Idaho Commission for Libraries, and Wyoming State Library recently received word of the Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program grant.

Students studying for a master’s degree in library science will participate in the University of North Texas distance education program. School library media students will attend either Montana State University or Black Hills State University in South Dakota.

The project will emphasize recruiting from the region’s largest minority groups -- Hispanics and Native Americans -- to increase representation of these groups among the region’s professional library staffs. Students receiving scholarships will begin their program of study in the fall of 2010.

“This was a great cooperative effort,” said State Library Continuing Education Coordinator Colleen Kirby. “I am confident that many of South Dakota’s libraries will reap the benefits of this grant program for years to come.”

The Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program supports efforts to recruit and educate the next generation of librarians and the faculty who will prepare them for careers in library science.

Since its inception in 2003, the program has funded the education and training of 3,220 master’s degree students, 186 doctoral students, 1,256 pre-professionals, and 26,206 continuing education students. The program also supports grants for research on library education and library staffing needs, curriculum development, and continuing education and training.

For more information, contact the South Dakota State Library at 1-800-423-6665.