In 2013, a team made up of Drake Community Library and Grinnell College Library staff was selected to take part in ILEAD USA (Innovative Librarians Explore, Apply and Discover). This prestigious year-long program is designed to help library staff understand and respond to user needs through the use of technologies that encourage interactive collaboration by a wide range of people. The end goal is a program or project that could serve as a model for others with similar goals. The team, dubbed "The G-Team," is made up of Monique Shore and Sharon Johnson of Drake Community Library and Catherine Rod, Julia Bauder and Chris Jones of Grinnell College Libraries.

The G-Team is one of five teams chosen from ILEAD applicants statewide. Each team had to develop a project that would use technology and include a chance for participation from outside individuals. The G-Team application focused on development of a project to enhance access to digital resources related to the history of Grinnell and Poweshiek County. The project will also provide tools that will enable members of the public to contribute to the digital archives. Some of the potential outcomes are: creation of a website or portal that will serve as a unified access point to digitized historical content about Grinnell and Poweshiek County; technology to digitize and organize new materials; a portable public scanning station that will allow documents and photographs from area residents to be scanned for possible inclusion; use of "crowd sourcing" software to add information to photographs and documents in the project; and possible solicitation and recording of oral histories from area residents.

Learn more about the project here

"We are thrilled to be collaborating with the college library staff on this project," says Monique Shore, systems administrator at Drake Community Library. "When I heard about the ILEAD project at the annual Iowa Library Association conference last year, I immediately thought it might be the perfect opportunity to formalize our collaboration with the college on our local archive initiatives. Both libraries maintain local archives with slightly different focuses. We currently share resources on an informal basis, but this project will provide us with the tools and focus to create easier access for the public and also solicit new materials for our digital collections."

Iowa ILEAD articipants will take part in three four-day sessions over the course of nine months, beginning March 25-28. Teams use the skills and training acquired throughout the sessions to develop, implement, manage and evaluate the project. They are assisted by instructors and mentors who provide instruction and guidance during the course of the sessions.

Iowa Library Services is partnering with the state libraries of Illinois, Colorado, Ohio and Utah to implement ILEAD USA through a Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. The Illinois State Library has hosted two extremely successful continuing education initiatives titled ILEAD U (Illinois Libraries Explore, Apply and Discover), and ILEAD USA is an expansion of the program.

Other ILEAD USA sessions will be held June 17-20 and October 21-24. Sessions will be held simultaneously in each of the five states, with plenary sessions on streaming video. In-person sessions, virtual meetings and activities will allow participants to hone their skills, experiment with participatory technology tools and continue communications with other ILEAD USA participants.


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