Grants to UNC Library Will Advance Statewide Learning Initiatives

July 17, 2017

The State Library of North Carolina has awarded two grants to UNC’s libraries to support lifelong learning, research, and education across the state. The Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) grants total nearly a half-million dollars. The Library will use the grants to create a learning network focused on innovative educational experiences and to advance the work of the North Carolina Digital Heritage Center.

North Carolina first lady Kristin Cooper announced the grants June 8 in a brief ceremony at the Chapel Hill Public Library.

North Carolina First Lady Kristin Cooper with representatives of UNC Library and the University.

North Carolina First Lady Kristin Cooper (third from left) presented two grant awards to representatives of UNC Chapel Hill Libraries and the University on June 8, 2017.

Building a Regional Network for Innovative Education

The Kenan Science Library (KSL) at UNC will use a grant of $48,924 to launch the Triangle Learning Network. The network will help K-12 schools, museums, libraries, afterschool programs, and community organizations as they develop programs in the areas of making, STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, math), and digital media literacy.

Danianne Mizzy, head of the KSL and its makerspace, said that she and colleagues at nearby academic libraries frequently field questions about starting makerspaces, making programs, and digital media labs. In thinking about these needs, Mizzy took inspiration from learning innovation networks such as Remake Learning in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and the Hive Learning Networks that operate in a number of cities.

The Triangle Learning Network will provide an avenue for established organizations like KSL to spur and support innovation in the greater Triangle, and a framework for collaboration among partners.

A year-long planning process will involve participants in defining and shaping the program. Stage one of the grant will begin this summer with a network self-assessment survey, identification of key stakeholders, and formation of a core leadership team.

In the second phase, consultants from The Sprout Fund, which manages Remake Learning, will lead network members in a summit using the Remake Learning Playbook. Participants will identify challenge projects for the grant’s third and final stage. Outcomes might include a showcase of projects and programs; a network directory; and programming, communications, or sustainability plans.

The Chapel Hill Public Library is a named partner for the grant and will manage outreach to public libraries. Any organization interested in learning more about the project or about participation should contact Mizzy ( or 919-962-3946).

Preserving and Sharing North Carolina History

The North Carolina Digital Heritage Center, based at the UNC Library, received a grant of $463,403 to continue its efforts to preserve and make local history available online.

The center gives fresh visibility to the state’s history by providing digitization services to libraries, museums, historical societies, and other cultural heritage organizations. The UNC Library and the State Library of North Carolina launched the cooperative endeavor in 2009.

Since then, the center has partnered with 216 libraries, museums, and archives across North Carolina to make the rich history of the Tar Heel State available to anyone with an internet connection. now hosts a growing collection of more than 119,000 items, including newspapers, photographs, scrapbooks, correspondence, and other historical documents.

This latest grant will allow the center to continue serving current partners and to help more institutions work with the center for the first time. It also provides funding specifically for newspaper digitization and access. Finally, it will allow center staff to go on the road, scanning materials onsite at libraries and museums in communities that currently have little or no representation on DigitalNC.

To learn more or to discuss potential partnerships, email

Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) Grants are federal funds from the Institute of Museum and Library Services that are awarded by the State Library to eligible North Carolina libraries. The State Library will publish a list of all grant recipients at its website.

“Libraries serve citizens in all 100 North Carolina counties, providing resources, information, and fostering lifelong learning, and, of course, reading,” said Cooper during the award ceremony in Chapel Hill. “Go into any library, and you will see arts, culture, invention, science and heritage.”

Photograph by Linda Fox, courtesy of North Carolina State Archives, Department of Natural and Cultural Resources

About the Institute of Museum and Library Services

Institute of Museum and Library Services logoThe Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) is celebrating its 20th Anniversary. The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s approximately 123,000 libraries and 35,000 museums. Our mission is to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement. Our grant making, policy development, and research help libraries and museums deliver valuable services that make it possible for communities and individuals to thrive. To learn more, visit and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.