The IMLS (Institute for Museum and Library Services) in concert with its strategic goal to increase diversity, equity, and inclusion through its support of libraries and museums, awarded the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research, in partnership with the Black Caucus of the American Library Association (BCALA) and the Public Library Association (PLA), an Applied Research Grant in the amount of $750,000 on July 28, 2022. The Applied Research Grant builds upon the 2020 IMLS-funded Planning Grant that awarded to the BCALA, A Taxonomy of Black History Month Programming in Public Libraries, which examined at a high overview level the types, focus, content, and scope of programming.
The Applied Research Grant, Developing a Model of Black History Month (BHM) Programming in Public Libraries (LG-252300-OLS-22), will conduct a comprehensive study of this programming utilizing the expertise of three centers of the University of Michigan—the Research Center for Group Dynamics (RCGD), the Survey Research Center (SRC) and the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR). The Applied Research project team will operationalize previously identified core library programming competencies, explore the current state of BHM programming with a nationally representative sample of public libraries, build a model of BHM programming, create a BHM Programming Index, and develop a beta version of a toolkit for staff at public libraries. This project team’s work is for a three-year committed grant (August 2022 – July 2025) with outputs that will include the creation, refinement, and analysis of a national BHM survey; development of a Knowledge of the Community Scale; and the testing, evaluation, and refinement of a beta BHM programs toolkit that will be developed in the future.
The principal investigator and administrator of the 2022 Applied Research Grant, Dr. Deborah Robinson, is a Research Investigator at the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan and was co-director, in 2020, of the IMLS/BCALA Planning Grant. Dr. Grace Jackson-Brown will serve as the BCALA Project Director for the Applied Research Grant. She is an experienced library programmer and professor for Missouri State University Libraries. She was co-director with Dr. Robinson in the IMLS/BCALA Planning Grant. Drs. Robinson and Jackson-Brown will work closely with a 16-member National Advisory Committee (NAC) made up of representatives from BCALA, PLA, the Association for Rural and Small Libraries (ARSL), the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH), and the University of Michigan.
About the Black Caucus of the American Library Association (BCALA)
BCALA serves as an advocate for the development, promotion, and improvement of library services and resources to the nation’s African American community; and provides leadership for the recruitment and professional development of African American librarians.