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Old Dominion University will address the critical shortage of licensed school library media specialists in Virginia by delivering an online graduate program to 40 students in Southwest and Northern Virginia as part of a $600,000 federal grant announced June 28.

The grant, from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), will fund the ODU program in cooperation with regions of Virginia geographically farthest from school library media licensure programs.

The ODU program is one of only 37 programs nationwide receiving funds from the grant and is the only one of its kind in Virginia higher education recognized by the IMLS.

The institute gave $21,087,684 in grants to universities, libraries, and library organizations across the country today to recruit and educate a new generation of librarians. The grants are designed to help offset a current shortage of school library media specialists, library school faculty, and librarians working in underserved communities, as well a looming shortage of library directors and other senior librarians who are expected to retire in the next 20 years.

In May 2000, Library Journal magazine reported 40% of America's library directors plan to retire in 9 years or less. And, according to the July 2000 Monthly Labor Review, in 1998 57% of professional librarians were age 45 or older. The March 2002 issue of American Libraries magazine showed that based on 1990 Census data almost 58% of professional librarians will reach the age of 65 between 2005 and 2019.

The Institute of Museum and Library Services is an independent federal grant-making agency dedicated to creating and sustaining a nation of learners by helping libraries and museums serve their communities. The institute fosters leadership, innovation, and a lifetime of learning by supporting the nation's 15,000 museums and 122,000 libraries. The institute also encourages partnerships to expand the educational benefit of libraries and museums. To learn more about the institute, please visit http://www.imls.gov.

This article was posted on: June 28, 2005

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