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SIS Receives Two More IMLS Grants

The University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s Center for Information and Communication Studies has received funding for projects to support rural librarians and increase Hispanic participation in teaching library science.

The grants were announced by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS)as two of the 32 Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian grants totaling $10.3 million.

Bharat Mehra and Vandana Singh of UT’s School of Information Sciences (SIS) received a grant award of $478,258 for the continuation of the school’s Information Technology Rural Librarian Master’s Scholarship Program Phase II (ITRL2), which offers scholarships to thirteen rural librarians in the Appalachian region of the U.S., enabling them to earn a master’s degree in Information Sciences.

Mehra said the program is important in promoting information literacy in areas of the country that struggle with basic needs.

“With this grant, we can continue to help these students to better serve their rural, impoverished communities. Libraries are vital local institutions that can help boost educational attainment and information literacy, which are critical to reducing poverty and unemployment.”

UT’s community partners in the scholarship program include the Clinch Powell Regional Library, the Fort Loudoun Regional Library, the Sevier County Public Library, and the Watauga Regional Library.

Ed Cortez and Suzie Allard of SIS and Bryan Heidom and Patty Overall of the University of Arizona received a grant award of $339,593 for the LaSCALA (Latino Scholars Cambio Leadership Academy) program. The grant will be used to recruit and educate four Hispanic/Latino doctoral students, with the goal of placing them in faculty positions around the country.

“The Hispanic population is particularly underserved in the information and library sciences area even though they are now the largest minority in the U.S.,” Cortez said. “The goal of the LaSCALA program is to educate the next generation of information science professors to recruit and mentor Hispanic information science students. UT’s SIS is taking a leadership role in resolving this deficiency.”

The LaSCALA program is a collaboration between UT and the University of Arizona.

For more information on the grants and the IMLS, the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 17,500 museums, visit