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Koontz receives IMLS National Leadership Grant to serve diverse library populations

by Robert Branciforte on September 25, 2012

Dr. Christie Koontz of the School of Library & Information Studies at The Florida State University received a National Leadership Grant from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) for her proposal to help public libraries better target and serve their diverse populations.

Koontz and co-principal investigator Dean K. Jue of FSU’s Florida Resources and Environmental Analysis Center received the grant for “iMap Libraries: Helping Provide Equity of Public Library Services.” School of Library & Information Studies Associate Professor Lorri Mon will lend her expertise in social media to the project.

“Public libraries are being asked to serve increasingly diverse communities with diverse needs,” said Koontz. “In order to better measure the value and extent of services being delivered to these communities, libraries need more specific data about their needs and about other libraries that serve similar populations.”

Koontz will lead FSU in partnering with the American Library Association and Chief Officers of State Library Associations to develop a prototype, Web-based mapping system that will collect specific data about libraries serving diverse communities.

The purpose of grant award is to support “innovative projects that can be widely replicated to improve the quality of library services throughout the nation.” Through a series of national forum activities with library leaders, the project team will solicit feedback about the prototype and about other services that can help serve specific populations.

“We are very proud of Christie’s continuing research, leadership and service in our field,” said Dr. Kathleen Burnett, interim director of the FSU School of Library & Information Studies.

A research associate in information studies and director of the GeoLib research program at Florida State University, Koontz pioneered the area of combining geographic information systems with data from resources like the U.S. Census Bureau to assist libraries in making targeted marketing decisions. In a decade of research projects, she collected data about diverse populations in individual libraries in order to help them optimize their collection development and delivery of services. Koontz’ research is the basis of the U.S. Public Library Geographic Database, which includes relevant U.S. Census data and library use data from 16,000 communities.

Koontz serves on committees of state, national and international library and information organizations and has won numerous awards for her research.

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