ACRL's Rare Books and Manuscripts Section receives IMLS grant to foster communication between museums, libraries, and archives

Contact: Christian Dupont

Syracuse University Library

Katherine A. Reagan

Cornell University Library

For Immediate Release

July 19, 2005

ACRL's Rare Books and Manuscripts Section receives IMLS grant to foster communication between museums, libraries, and archives

CHICAGO-- The Rare Books and Manuscripts Section (RBMS) of the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), has received a $93,106 grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to explore the cultural missions of museums, libraries, and archives, and to foster greater communication and collaboration among them .

The grant, funded through the IMLS “Librarians for the 21 st Century” program, will support a national conference entitled “ Libraries, Archives, and Museums in the Twenty-First Century: Intersecting Missions, Converging Futures? ” that will bring together leading practitioners from from the library, museum, and archival fields to investigate common concerns relating to their shared missions to acquire, preserve, and make accessible the world's cultural artifacts and historical documents.

The conference, a preconference of the ALA Annual Conference, will be held on June 20-23, 2006, in Austin, Texas. The Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center at The University of Texas at Austin will serve as primary host for an expected 300 attendees.

A major portion of the IMLS funding will be used to provide 30 scholarships to the preconference. Scholarships will be available on a competitive basis to new and aspiring library, archives, and museum professionals, especially from professionally underrepresented backgrounds. The American Association of Museums (AAM) will contribute to the development of the program.

“The Ransom Center is pleased to host the 47th annual RBMS preconference,” said Thomas Fr. Staley, director of the Harry Ranson Humanities Research Center at The University of Texas at Austin. “The topic of this preconference is at the vital center of the challenges and opportunities unfolding before all of us in the new century.”

RBMS is nearing its fiftieth anniversary, and AAM will celebrate its centennial in 2006. The gathering in Austin will mark the first time that these two organizations have collaborated on a national conference. IMLS also sponsored a “Library and Museum Day” of programs at the annual AAM conference held this past May in Indianapolis.

“We are delighted by the support from IMLS,” said Katherine Reagan, curator of rare books at Cornell University and current RBMS chair. “This event will provide a broad platform for cultural institutions—those that preserve and promote access to collections of art, rare books, and historical archives—to discuss common ground and the potential for closer collaboration.”

“We are very pleased that the 2006 RBMS preconference was selected for an IMLS grant,” said Mary Ellen Davis, executive director of ACRL. “The grant provides a valuable opportunity for the library and museum communities to engage in a dialogue about common issues .”

In the coming months, complete program and registration information for the preconference will be posted to the RBMS web site at

ACRL is a division of the American Library Association, representing 13,000 academic and research librarians and interested individuals. ACRL is the only individual membership organization in North America that develops programs, products and services to meet the unique needs of academic and research librarians. Its initiatives enable the higher education community to understand the role that academic and research libraries play in the teaching, learning and research environments.

The Institute of Museum and Library Services is an independent federal grant-making agency dedicated to creating and sustaining a nation of learners by helping libraries and museums serve their communities. The Institute fosters leadership, innovation, and a lifetime of learning by supporting the nation's 15,000 museums and 122,000 libraries. The Institute also encourages partnerships to expand the educational benefit of libraries and museums. To learn more about the Institute, please visit