Professor Sandra Hughes-Hassell receives IMLS grant for “Project READY: Reimagining Equity and Access for Diverse Youth”

Release date: 

April 13, 2016

Sandra Hughes-Hassell, Frances McColl Term Professor at the UNC School of Information and Library Science (SILS), has been awarded a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to develop a continuing education curriculum that will enable school librarians to become more culturally competent educators.

“Project READY: Reimagining Equity and Access for Diverse Youth–A Professional Development Curriculum,” will receive $569,583 through the Laura Bush 21st Century Librarians Program. Hughes-Hassell will direct the project, working with faculty members from SILS and North Carolina Central University (NCCU), as well as staff from the Wake County Public School System (WCPSS). The team will design, implement, and evaluate a professional development curriculum that combines in-person and online experiences, and which will ultimately be distributed for free to libraries and school districts across the country.

“The curriculum will help school librarians and their collaborative partners better understand how race and culture affect learning, how they can implement culturally responsive teaching, and how they can demonstrate their commitment to equity literacy,” Hughes-Hassell said. “Through their transformed practice, we hope to improve the educational experiences and outcomes for K-12 youth of color, who current research shows often feel like outsiders in library spaces.”

Project READY will launch in June 2016 and continue through May 2019, but the resulting curriculum and knowledge gained will make an impact for years to come. The IMLS funding will provide support for current SILS Ph.D. student Kimberly Hirsh, as well as post-doc scholar Casey Rawson, who will graduate from SILS with her Ph.D. in May and will serve as co-principal investigator on the project, leading the development of the curriculum and the online modules.

Project READY expands on work that began with funding from a 2011 IMLS National Leadership Forum grant “Building a Bridge to Literacy for African-American Male Youth: A Call to Action for the Library Community.”

Hughes-Hassell was one of two SILS faculty members to have a project selected for funding by IMLS this cycle. Assistant Professor Ryan Shaw will serve as a co-director for “Periods, Organized (PeriodO) 2: Linking, Discovering, and Reconciling Information about the Past.”


The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 35,000 museums. Its mission is to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement. Its 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 IMLS on Facebook  and Twitter .