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Grant Will Help U of M College of Education Recruit and Train School Librarians University News
For release: June 15, 2010

For press information, contact Curt Guenther, 901-678-2843

The Institute of Museum and Library Services has awarded a $552,168 grant to the University of Memphis College of Education through the Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian program.  The award will assist the U of M’s School Librarian SOS (Support for Online Study) project in producing 30 fully qualified school librarians to work in high-need school districts, including one urban district (Memphis City Schools) and two rural districts (Haywood and Tipton county schools).

Tennessee requires all new school librarians to have a master of library science degree. The SOS project will recruit teachers and non-degreed librarians for an online MLS program and provide them with scholarships and computers in exchange for a minimum three-year commitment to work in a school library of a sponsoring school district.

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. The Laura Bush program also awards grants for research related to library education and staffing needs, curriculum development, and continuing education and training.

 “The College of Education is pleased to offer this innovative online program that addresses the national shortage of school library and information specialists,” said Dean Donald Wagner. “This grant award is a testament to the quality of the program and recognition of our  acclaimed program in Instructional Design and Technology at the University of Memphis.”

In 2008, the U of M became one of the first universities in Tennessee to offer its entire SLIS (School Library and Information Specialist) program of study online. Areas of focus include electronic cataloging and use of related online resources.

Each SOS participant is expected to work with an average of 575 students. By the completion of the program in 2013, these highly qualified librarians will be serving some 17,250 students annually, resulting in potentially higher levels of student achievement. Dr. Lee Allen, assistant professor of Instruction and Curriculum Leadership in the College of Education, is the project coordinator.

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