Tuesday, August 16, 2011

IMLS Grant

I was just reading the blogs from February. It seems kind of crazy how different things are here now. Yesterday, I had a $135,000 grant due to the Institution of Museum and Library Services for their Learning Labs in Museums and Libraries program grant. On Friday I did not think there was anyway I was going to get finished. On Saturday it was too close to not finish. At about 5:30 on Sunday morning I did not care whether it got finished. On Monday I read through grant requirements and realized I was missing two huge things and I had to rewrite the whole budget again.

When I re-read through the grant it was kind of impressive. The grant is based on the Afterschool Homework Program we developed at the Turks and Caicos National Museum. I even used Tuval's and Kenlove's blogs as examples. That program was funded by a grant of $5,000 the first year and $9,600 the second year.

The IMLS grant is for one of 30 Learning Labs to be funded throughout the country. The grant is for 18 months of planning and prototyping. I would love to fully fund this program at $135,000.00. Shoot, I would love to fund it with $9,600. The program in the Turks and Caicos was one of the best things I have ever been a part of. There is lots of support here to do something similar. In fact, the program would be seen as a monumental step forward for both the museum and the youth of Ocotillo.

Here is the grant abstract:

The Imperial Valley Desert Museum is planning the development of a Learning Lab. At a minimum, the Lab would be a place where community youth would have access to internet, computers, and printers, and a staff member who could tutor or assist with homework, research, and academic projects. As envisioned, the Learning Lab will be a space where youth can explore natural science informally through connecting the natural history of the desert surrounding the museum with technological applications such as video editing, video webcasting, photo manipulation, graphic design, website development, and a new concept we are calling “geo-blogging.”

I have been working for the last three months to get all our Ts crossed and our Is dotted so that we can submit grants on Grants.gov. It came down to the last minute. But I just got an email saying that our grant had been transmitted to the reviewing agency. Baby steps for most institutions, but huge monster steps for here.

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