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Library Innovation Studios

About the Project

The Nebraska Library Commission along with partners University of Nebraska—Lincoln, Nebraska Innovation Studio, Nebraska Extension, and Regional Library Systems, are excited about the Library Innovation Studios: Transforming Rural Communities project, which was awarded a National Leadership Grant of $715,732 by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). The project began July 1, 2017 and will conclude June 30, 2021.

The project uses Library Innovation Studios (Makerspaces) hosted by public libraries to support community engagement and participatory learning experiences by providing access to technological and innovative learning tools not readily accessible locally. This strengthening of the maker culture in Nebraska communities is expected to stimulate creativity, innovation, and the exchange of ideas to facilitate entrepreneurship, skills development, and local economic development.
The multi-faceted project will:
  • Establish local Community Action Teams in forty rural and small communities;
  • Purchase equipment and related materials for four rotating Innovation Studios that will be hosted by libraries for approximately 20 weeks each;
  • Develop instructional materials and user equipment certification processes;
  • Employ sustainability strategies for permanent studios;
  • Provide training on the use of the equipment, focusing on Train-the-Trainer strategies;
  • Assist with local marketing efforts and programming/events, including open houses and maker showcases; and
  • Host annual makers’ showcases in Lincoln or Grand Island.

These three goals guide the project:

  • Rural community residents will be empowered with the tools and guidance to explore, collaborate, create, learn, and invent;
  • Libraries will transform their rural communities through participatory learning spaces, while establishing themselves as strong community catalysts for community change; and
  • Libraries (and communities) nationwide will have access to a replicable model.

Contact Information

JoAnn McManus, Library Innovation Studios Project Manager, Nebraska Library Commission, 1200 N Street, Suite 120, Lincoln, NE 68508-2023, 402-471-4870, 800-307-2665

This project was made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services [grant #LG-95-17-0046-17].
Program Partners include: Nebraska Library Commission, Institute of Museum and Library Services, Nebraska Innovation Studio, Nebraska Regional Library Systems, and Nebraska 4-H Extention