Official State of Iowa Website

State Library Awarded $246,000 Grant to Further Support Social Work Efforts in Iowa Libraries

Aug 08, 2023

IMLS Logo.pngThe State Library has been awarded a grant of more than $246,000 from the Institute of Museum and Library Services as part of the Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program. The grant will be used on efforts to support the psychosocial needs of Iowa library staff and patrons.

“This grant will have far reaching impact, both within Iowa and beyond. It will allow us to continue critical projects to support social work efforts for library patrons and the staff that serve them,” said Michael Scott, State Librarian. “Libraries continue to be one of the first places Iowans turn to for assistance with community needs beyond library services.”

The multi-year project will implement recommendations from a needs assessment conducted by Dr. Beth Wahler and will culminate in the development of a toolkit resource for other states and libraries wishing to create similar programs. Grant projects include:

  • Developing specialized training programs for library directors and staff to gain essential information and skills for serving patrons with psychosocial needs and building successful collaborations with social service providers.
  • Offering free Mental Health First Aid training to library staff statewide.
  • Contracting with a licensed social worker to facilitate a mental health support group pilot program for library directors and staff.
  • Expanding professional development collection materials for librarians on mental health and related topics.

About the Social Work in Iowa Libraries Program

The Social Work in Iowa Libraries program was launched by the State Library in 2022 to explore opportunities to help more libraries offer psychosocial resources to their patrons and support the unique challenges that library staff face. The pandemic has further highlighted the important role libraries and librarians play in their community.

Find out more about the Program ​​​​​

About the 21st Century Librarian Grant Program

The Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program from the Institute of Museum and Library Services supports the training and professional development of library and archives professionals; developing faculty and information leaders; and recruiting, educating, and retaining the next generation of library and archives professionals in order to develop a diverse library and archival workforce and meet the information needs of their communities.

This grant round, more than $32 million was invested in 31 projects across the nation. Read the Full Announcement from IMLS