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Helping Maximize Libraries within 'Smart Cities'

CTG study exploring potential role of libraries in smart city initiatives.

ALBANY, N.Y. (October 10, 2017) — The United States Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) is awarding the Center for Technology in Government (CTG) almost a half million dollars to find out how libraries can better serve their communities and encourage collaboration among local government, and citizens in new technology innovations.

The three year project, led by Mila Gascó, CTG associate research director and an associate professor in Public Administration & Policy, is one of 31 grantees selected out of a large pool of applicants vying for more than $5 million that IMLS made available to address challenges and opportunities facing the library and archives field.

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IMLS is awarding CTG an almost $500,000 grant to explore the role of libraries in smart city initiatives. 

"We are delighted to announce today's grant recipients whose projects are designed to have lasting benefits for the library and archives fields," said IMLS Director Kathryn K. Matthew. "These grants highlight how IMLS helps steer the nation's investments in libraries and ensure that librarians are equipped to provide citizens access to the information, resources, and services they want and need."

The CTG project will address two main questions:

  • To what extent do public libraries contribute to communities’ understanding of and participation in smart city initiatives?
  • What are the benefits, costs, risks, challenges, and unintended consequences for public libraries increasing their involvement smart city initiatives?

The project will build on a Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program (LB21) grant CTG received in 2013, which included a set of recommendations for public libraries to help them contribute to and influence open government within their communities.

The new project will use a multi-method research approach and produce literature and current practices reviews, case studies, and a national survey. It will also develop a report and a toolkit to guide libraries who are seeking to advance their role as community anchors and catalysts in smart city initiatives.

The project team aims to increase and sustain relationships and collaborations between libraries and other organizations such as city governments and community organizations.

“CTG is honored to have been selected by the Institute of Museum & Library Services to receive a National Leadership Grant for Libraries,” says Theresa A. Pardo, CTG director. “This project will create new understanding of public libraries as community catalysts for collaborative engagement among local governments, citizens, and other stakeholders in smart city initiatives.”

More information about the grant and fellow recipients can be found here.

CTG, an applied research center of UAlbany, is world-renowned for its work with governments around the world to improve public service through innovations in technology, policy, and management.

About IMLS: The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s approximately 120,000 libraries and 35,000 museums. Their mission is to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement. Our grant making, policy development, and research help libraries and museums deliver valuable services that make it possible for communities and individuals to thrive. To learn more, visit www.imls.gov.

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