Vermont Dept. of Libraries News, No. 118, September 2000

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                              State of Vermont
                           Department of Libraries

                                   N E W S

 * SPECIAL EDITION * SPECIAL EDITION * SPECIAL EDITION * SPECIAL EDITION *
 
 No. 118, September 2000
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          DEPARTMENT GEARS UP FOR MOBILE LIBRARY LITERACY PROJECT

       The Department of Libraries recently received approval of its Mobile
  Library Literacy Project from the federal Institute of Museum and Libraries
  Services (IMLS).  Thanks to U.S. Senator James Jeffords, the two year
  National Leadership Grant will bring nearly $1 million into the state to
  "promote access to books, reading, programs, and information through
  technology" (see News, Summer, 2000).  Speaking in Waterbury in July, 1999,
  Senator Jeffords noted that the project "will extend the walls of the
  library and welcome all Vermonters to be part of the learning community."

       The Department of Libraries plans to issue the majority of the funds
  in sub-grants to local public libraries, schools or school districts, or
  other qualified organizations.  State Librarian Sybil Brigham McShane said
  that grant amounts could range from $10,000 or $20,000 to $150,000 or
  $250,000, depending on the project design.  Two-thirds of the amount will
  be awarded in Year One and one-third in Year Two.

       The successful applicant will be required to present a mobile library
  literacy project that is specifically designed to meet its locality's needs
  as described and documented in the grant application, and should: 

       * emphasize partnerships with other organizations and
         institutions, and
       
       * demonstrate the ability to sustain the project beyond
         the two-year grant period, for at least three to five years.

  Priority will be given to projects that include service to all age groups.

       Funds may be used for salaries, wages and benefits, and consulting, as
  well as materials especially book collections for bookmobiles, equipment
  such as bookmobiles or vans, computers and cellular telephones, and general
  operating expenses over the two-year period.  "Cyber-mobiles" and projects
  including young adult services are especially encouraged.  Small libraries
  should consider working with neighboring libraries, school districts, and
  community organizations to put together projects that are far-reaching and
  creative.   In communities where libraries, for whatever reason, cannot
  take a leadership role, other organizations may be considered for grants.

       Applicants will be required to provide either local matching funds or
  in-kind contributions at some level.  In-kind contributions may include
  staff time, space, collections, AmeriCorps/VISTA assistance, labor from
  municipal governments, or other support.  Applicants will also be required
  to:

       * budget for the costs of traveling to and attending
         training sessions (perhaps requiring overnight
         accommodations), 

       * develop and have approved outcome measures for
         evaluation of their projects, and 

       * complete all necessary reports.  

  Applications will be reviewed by Department staff, a member of the state
  Board of Libraries, and a panel of other experienced reviewers, perhaps
  from another state library agency and/or with mobile library/outreach
  service experience.

       A major component of the Mobile Library Literacy Project is the
  ability for applicants to shape their proposals based on local needs and to
  size their efforts accordingly.  Vermont's experience with pilot mobile
  library services in Windham County and the Lyndonville area over the past
  two years has shown that a grassroots effort and the ability to be flexible
  leads to success beyond what had originally been anticipated.  The
  tentative time-line for the project is as follows:

       * Oct.-Nov., 2000 - Department of Libraries staff
         members attend IMLS outcome evaluation training and apply
         methods learned to overall state grant
       * Dec., 2000 - Public libraries and community
         organizations receive application packets
       * Jan., 2001 - Grant seekers information meeting(s)
       * Mar., 2001 - Applications due; successful applicants
         notified
       * Apr.-May, 2001 - 2-day outcome evaluation measurement
         training session for grantees who follow up with submission
         of evaluation methods for project plans for approval.
       * June, 2001 - 2/3 of funds released to grantees; local
         projects begin
       * Nov., 2001 - mid-project evaluation
       * Jan., 2002 - final 1/3 of funds released to grantees
       * Sept., 2002 - final evaluation of statewide project


       McShane noted that the project "seeks to discover if mobile library
  service is a viable means of serving rural and suburban populations in the
  21st century," and, if so, what the optimal size service area for such
  projects is.   Although much has been written in the past about the
  importance of such services in rural areas, the national data does not show
  that much mobile library service is actually taking place in these areas. 
  Rather, urban libraries appear to be having the greatest success with these
  services.  

       McShane said she is looking for "successful models that could be
  readily adapted and used elsewhere  Is the most effective method for
  libraries to team with one or more of the many community service agencies? 
  Are organizations other than libraries able to take a leadership role and
  successfully deliver such services?  What size operation is optimal-how
  many towns or square miles, how many partners and libraries, what size
  vehicle, staff or collection?"  Answers to these questions will rely
  heavily on the data gathered using outcome measurement methods promoted by
  IMLS.  Hence, the training component of the application process is an
  essential element in what McShane views as "fresh look at traditional
  mobile library services ."

       Amy Howlett will serve as project consultant for the Department,
  working with applicants and, later, grantees to ensure their success.  The
  Department will also make its collections available to grantees wishing to
  supplement those used in stocking local bookmobile projects.

       Public libraries and community organizations should watch their mail
  in December for more information on the project.  For further information,
  contact State Librarian Sybil Brigham McShane at 828-3265.



                          Editor:  Marianne Kotch

                      VERMONT DEPARTMENT OF LIBRARIES
                               109 STATE ST.
                           MONTPELIER, VT  05609

                           http://dol.state.vt.us


                      Howard B. Dean, M.D., Governor
                  Sybil Brigham McShane, State Librarian


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  This special editon of News is published by the Vermont Department of
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