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University of Central Missouri
Administration 302
Warrensburg, MO 64093
Phone: 660-543-4640
Fax: 660-543-4943


Grant Will Allow Rural School Librarians to Earn Graduate Degrees at UCM

Contact: Mike Greife
WARRENSBURG, MO (July 8, 2011) – The University of Central Missouri is the recipient of a $843,613 grant from the 2011 Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program, administered by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, Washington, D.C. The grant will provide funding to allow 43 librarians working in rural school libraries across the state to earn a master’s degree in Library and Information Services from UCM through the Preparing PRAXIS II Certified Librarians for Practice Project.

These librarians currently are working under certification acquired by taking the PRAXIS II exam, an equivalency exam available to educators that certifies their knowledge of subject areas. While this exam certifies their qualifications for the positions they hold, the grant funding will allow them to continue their education and earn a graduate degree from UCM.

“This graduate program is designed to attract school librarians currently working in rural school districts,” said Patricia Antrim, chair of UCM’s Department of Educational Leadership and Human Development.  “Rural school districts often find it difficult to find the funding to employ librarians with graduate degrees. This grant will allow UCM to offer graduate studies in Library and Information Services to PRAXIS II-certified librarians while they are working full time, with all coursework delivered online.”

Applicants should be currently under contract with a rural school district as a school librarian with PRAXIS II certification, and have a letter of support from the district administration. Antrim added that the curriculum has been designed to allow the participants to complete a portion of the degree requirements as part of their jobs.

“This will be a great benefit to these school districts, and ultimately to the students they serve,” she added.

According to Antrim, recruiting for the first cohort of 20 students will begin during fall semester 2011, with coursework to begin in January 2012. The second cohort of 23 students will begin in January 2013. The program will be completed in two years.

The grant will fund tuition and fees for those participating, support to attend conferences, and fees for workshops to be attended with their administrators. Each participant also will be provided a laptop computer. The grant project is a partnership between UCM and the Missouri Association of School Librarians. UCM will provide the coursework, workshop, and computers, and MASL will provide the conferences and ongoing professional development and support to the 43 candidates.

"The College of Education is a leading provider of quality instruction for education professionals,” said Michael Wright, dean of the UCM College of Education. “The graduate program in Library and Information Services at UCM is one of the strongest in the state, so it is appropriate that we provide this valuable service to Missouri’s rural school librarians through the IMLS grant. We are excited about this opportunity and appreciative of the confidence conveyed by the IMLS in selecting UCM."

In a letter notifying UCM of its selection as a grant recipient, Susan Hildreth, IMLS director, said the UCM project was one of 24 selected by IMLS to receive the grant funding from 114 applications received from across the country. A total of $11.2 million in funding was approved for the selected programs that would

The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. The Institute's mission is to create strong libraries and museums that connect people to information and ideas.

For more information, contact Antrim at 660-543-8633 or by email at