IMLS Partnership

In 2014, Knowledge River was awarded $498,736.00 by the Laura Bush 21st Century Library IMLS Grant program. The Connected Learning in Digital Heritage Curation project, the University of Arizona School of Information Resources and Library Science (SIRLS) Knowledge River (KR) Program and partners will recruit and matriculate 24 culturally competent professionals over the 2014-2017 time period. The project focuses on connected learning by embedding students in graduate assistantships at cultural heritage institutions; providing hands-on application of theoretical and practical knowledge in face-to-face, online, and hybrid courses; and involving students in professional development and networking activities.

One of the chief goals of the KR program has been to increase the number of librarians who have a documented interest in serving the major under-served populations of Arizona, the southwest and the nation – Latinos and Native Americans. Continuing digital innovations and practices along with marked demographic changes offer challenges to developing culturally competent LIS professionals.[1] The work being carried out in public and other libraries promotes digital literacy that utilizes information technology and produces born digital items that are often left uncurated, without organization, representation, or preservation.  KR’s work in both traditional libraries and archives and in new public digital spaces which also utilize emerging information technology offers a rich laboratory that promotes educational activities and training experience with a focus on the production and curation of cultural heritage materials, including texts, images, and other data generated out of civic participation, STEM activities, and community involvement.

Knowledge River supports IMLS strategic STEM goals by placing students at the center of learning, promoting critical literacy, and engaging them as creators in library, archives and museum experiences in a manner that prepares them to collaborate with constituent LIS institutions and to be full participants in their local and global communities. Drawing on the strategic strengths of KR, the Connected Learning in Digital Heritage Curation project extends in new ways our successful efforts at bringing diversity to the LIS professions and developing culturally competent librarians and information professionals to serve Hispanic and Native American communities. Partners for this project represent a wide array of cultural heritage organizations including the University of Arizona Libraries and Center for Creative Photography, Arizona Health Sciences Library, Pima County Public Library, Arizona Historical Society, Labriola National American Indian Data Center, American Indian Film Gallery, University of Arizona Laboratory for Tree-Ring Research, and the Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Records agency of the state government.

In 2011, Knowledge River was awarded $844,965 by the Laura Bush 21st Century Librarians IMLS Grant program. Our plan is to recruit and matriculate 33 culturally competent information professionals to work in public libraries, archives, and medical libraries that serve Hispanic American and Native American communities. While providing these needed professionals, the project will also enhance the existing Knowledge River Program by developing an online component.


Arizona Historical Society

Pima County Public Library

Arizona Health Sciences Library

Labriola National American Indian Data Center

Arizona State Library, Archives, and Public Records

University of Arizona Libraries

Center for Creative Photography

American Indian Film Gallery

University of Arizona Laboratory for Tree-Ring Research



College of Social and Behavioral Sciences