August 31, 2017

ArtCenter College of Design Awarded Prestigious National Leadership Grant to Envision Libraries of the Future

College Is One of Only Two Grantees from California to Receive IMLS Funds from $10 Million Invested Nationally to Support Library Model Projects

ArtCenter College Design is a recipient of a Library Leadership Grant from The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) in Washington, DC, to improve the experience of patrons using archive and special collections through a human design-centered approach to technology. The $25,000 award to the College is part of a $10 million national investment in 2017 made by the Institute, the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 35,000 museums.

ArtCenter’s winning project, Reimagining the User Experience in Archives & Special Collections: Best Practices for Library Collaborations with Designers , is a joint undertaking between ArtCenter Library and the Interaction Design Department, to be headed up by Interaction Design Chair Maggie Hendrie and College Archivist Robert Dirig.

“ArtCenter is an ideal test bed for envisioning libraries of the future,” said College Librarian and Managing Director Mario A. Ascencio. “We are a thriving population of tech-savvy Millennial designers collaborating with highly trained library professionals to develop human-centered digital services and tools.”

Meeting a national need to make library services and tools easy to use, the ArtCenter Library is uniquely positioned to be a leader on this front, as it has professionally trained library and archive staff working alongside some of the top design educators in the nation. Increasingly in their practice, designers craft human-centered digital services and tools. The Reimagining the User Experience project is an ideal opportunity to apply this expertise and serves as an excellent example of how design sparks innovation.

The ArtCenter Library will use the grant to develop and test best practices for archivists and librarians working with designers to develop digital tools and interfaces for archives and special collections. The project will bridge the disparate perspectives and vocabularies of librarians, archivists and technology designers with the aim of distilling essential expertise from both fields. The results, in the form of practical, easily understood pointers and sample work processes, will be shared in a national white paper and online content to be disseminated widely through targeted channels to the library and design sectors.

ArtCenter is one of only two grantees from California in the FY 2017 cycle of IMLS grant distribution and the only grantee in Southern California, the other was San Jose State University.

This is the second IMLS grant awarded to the College. During the 2014-2015 academic year, ArtCenter received funding to explore whether academic libraries could potentially serve as "makerspaces." The project, Critical Content Making: Zine Makerspaces in an Academic Library, resulted in a national white paper, authored by Liaison Librarian Simone Fujita, which was extremely well received by the IMLS and its partner institutions.

“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 Dr. Kathryn K. Matthew in a news release issued August 30, 2017. “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.”

National Leadership Grants for Libraries support projects that address challenges faced by the library and archives fields and that have the potential to advance library and archival practice with new tools, research findings, models, services, or alliances that can be widely replicated. Nearly $26 million was requested, and $5,557,160 was awarded for 31 projects.

Visit the IMLS website for more information about the National Leadership Grants for Libraries program.

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About IMLS: The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) is celebrating its 20th Anniversary. The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s approximately 123,000 libraries and 35,000 museums. Our 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.

About ArtCenter Library: The Library actively supports the teaching and research mission of ArtCenter College of Design. It serves as the College’s main collaborative learning environment, where students and faculty from various departments gather to explore, discover and create. It is also open to alumni and external researchers. The Library is a specialized visual arts library designed for aspiring artists and designers. It includes more than 93,000 books; 420 periodical subscriptions; 11,000 feature films, documentaries, and animation clips; a growing zine collection; and numerous online research databases. In addition, the Library works with faculty members to acquire resources to enhance their teaching. Outside the classroom and studio, the Library is pivotal in providing students with informal learning spaces. Students have access to their Liaison Librarians who provide research assistance on a walk-in basis and by appointment. In addition, Liaison Librarians support faculty by providing library instruction and workshops to help students develop research and information literacy skills. The Library also includes the ArtCenter Archives , a repository for official and unofficial records that document ArtCenter’s history. The Archives contain historical images and material of enduring value generated by faculty, academic departments, administrative offices, students and campus organizations.

About ArtCenter College of Design: Founded in 1930 and located in Pasadena, California, ArtCenter College of Design is a global leader in art and design education. ArtCenter offers 11 undergraduate and seven graduate degrees in a wide variety of industrial design disciplines as well as visual and applied arts. In addition to its top-ranked academic programs, the College also serves members of the Greater Los Angeles region through a highly regarded series of year-round educational programs for all ages and levels of experience. Renowned for both its ties to industry and its social impact initiatives, ArtCenter is the first design school to receive the United Nations’ Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) status. Throughout the College’s long and storied history, ArtCenter alumni have had a profound impact on popular culture, the way we live and important issues in our society.

Teri Bond
Media Relations Director
O 626 396-2385
M 310 738-2077

Mario Ascencio Librarian
College Librarian and Managing Director Mario A. Ascencio. Photo by Juan Posada.