Maryland’s iSchool Receives IMLS Grant to Fund E-Government Scholarship Program

The University of Maryland’s College of Information Studies, Maryland’s iSchool, and the American Library Association Office of Government Relations have been awarded a grant through the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program. The grant award of $499,977 with a matching amount of $68,056 will fund 15 scholarships for master of library science (MLS) students with a specialization in e-government. This unique, cohort-based program prepares students for careers in librarianship and other information sciences as specialists in digital government information and e-government services. Students will begin the program in the fall of 2013 and graduate in the summer of 2015.

This grant-funded program strengthens the successful iSchool e-government MLS specialization that was funded by a previous IMLS-awarded Digital Government Librarian Scholarship grant. The program is set to graduate its first cohort in July 2012. John Carlo Bertot, co-director of the Information Policy and Access Center (iPAC) and director of the MLS program at the University of Maryland, said, “As governments continue the migration of their information and services to online formats, there is an increased need for librarians who understand the often complex government information networks and can help users satisfy their e-government needs.”

“Many members of the public face significant challenges to accessing and using e-government, due to limited technology access, limited digital literacy, or barriers within the design of e-government,” added iPAC co-director and e-government specialization coordinator Paul Jaeger. “Students who graduate from this program will be prepared to teach patrons how to overcome such challenges and become active users of e-government.”

The Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program (LB21) invests in the nation’s information infrastructure by funding projects that foster the development of a new generation of faculty, librarians and archivists preparing library leaders, and strengthening schools of library and information science. LB21 grants assist the library profession in preparing to meet the challenges of the 21st century by supporting programs that address the education and training needs of the professionals who help build, maintain and provide public access to the world’s wide-ranging information systems and sources.

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