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IMLS Awards Grant for ARL/MLA Diversity and Inclusion Initiative

Washington, DC—The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) has awarded a Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program grant to the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) to fund a new partnership with the Music Library Association (MLA). The ARL/MLA Diversity and Inclusion Initiative (ARL/MLA DII) will seek to address the need for professional staff in music and performing arts libraries to better reflect evolving demographics of students and faculty in music and performing arts higher education.

Academic research libraries are in need of trained professionals from traditionally underrepresented racial and ethnic minority groups who have the experience and skills to work with music and performing arts collections and scholars. ARL and MLA—along with partner libraries at the University at Buffalo, SUNY; the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; the University of North Texas; and the University of Pittsburgh—will recruit 15 diverse students with educational backgrounds in music to participate in the three-year program. The ARL/MLA DII will provide financial support for master of library and information science education, paid membership in the American Library Association and MLA, mentoring by a music library/information professional from a partner library, paid internships at partner institutions, career skills workshops, and career placement services for the students. The goal of the program is to help create a diverse, well-qualified cadre of new LIS professionals who are equipped with the skills and knowledge to address the transformative professional roles in music and performing arts libraries in the 21st century.

As Marianne I. Gaunt, Vice President for Information Services and University Librarian, Rutgers University, and member of the ARL Committee on Diversity and Leadership, noted, “It's a great collaboration in an important area. There is so much creative work happening in music and the performing arts that we need a well-prepared, diverse cadre of librarians ready to enhance library services for this community!”

“The rewards of this initiative are great: not only do the recipients get superb training and experience, the Music Library Association will benefit greatly from the influx of new ideas and its ability to support the information needs of new communities,” James P. Cassaro, Head, Theodore M. Finney Music Library, University of Pittsburgh, remarked. “I am proud that the University of Pittsburgh is among the partner institutions that will benefit from this IMLS grant.”

The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) is a nonprofit organization of 126 research libraries in the US and Canada. Its mission is to influence the changing environment of scholarly communication and the public policies that affect research libraries and the diverse communities they serve. ARL pursues this mission by advancing the goals of its member research libraries, providing leadership in public and information policy to the scholarly and higher education communities, fostering the exchange of ideas and expertise, facilitating the emergence of new roles for research libraries, and shaping a future environment that leverages its interests with those of allied organizations. ARL is on the Web at .

The Music Library Association (MLA) is the professional association for music libraries and librarianship in the United States. Founded in 1931, it has an international membership of librarians, musicians, scholars, educators, and members of the book and music trades. Complementing the Association’s national and international activities are eleven regional chapters that carry out its programs on the local level. As of July 1, 2011, MLA is also the United States branch of IAML, the International Association of Music Libraries, Archives and Documentation Centres. MLA is on the Web at .