The Connecticut State Library Receives Supplemental Grant to the Previously awarded Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program EXCITE Transformation for Libraries Project

The Connecticut State Library is proud to announce that the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) has awarded a $299,950 supplemental grant to the previously awarded Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program  EXCITE Transformation for Libraries project grant, for a total award amount of $687,200.  “As centers of learning and catalysts of community change, libraries and museums connect people with programs, services, collections, information, and new ideas in the arts, sciences, and humanities. They serve as vital spaces where people can connect with each other,” said IMLS Director Dr. Kathryn K. Matthew. “IMLS is proud to support their work through our grant making as they inform and inspire all in their communities.”

The American Library Association’s “Libraries Transform” public awareness campaign implies both that libraries transform the lives of patrons, and that libraries are transforming as organizations with new services and ideas. Yet there are few solutions offered for how librarians can transform themselves by learning new skills and a mindset to encourage innovation and experimentation at their libraries. The State Library’s Division of Library Development is currently in the first year of the EXCITE project to address these needs.  “We sought to identify an innovative program of training that would address the overall culture of the library, the way library staff interact with each other as well as how they interact with the public, their partners, and stakeholders,” said Dawn La Valle, Director, Division of Library Development and project director. According to La Valle, “We presented IMLS with observations and assessments of activities in the first year of the EXCITE project and comparisons between the extended Cohort training and the three-day Bootcamp model, it quickly became clear that the Bootcamps are more scalable geographically and more sustainable over time in terms of library participation. They have a big impact in a short timeframe. IMLS saw value in our assessment and generously awarded the supplemental grant.”


EXCITE Bootcamp evaluation feedback included:

“Amazing! I will forever trust the process. Thank you for filling my “tool box” with a few more techniques to help develop amazing programs.”


“Loved to spend the last 3 days innovating, collaborating, learning with other librarians and now have new tools to bring to my home library and help the community develop new outputs.”


“Thank you for providing this training. I learned so much by having to use the tools provided to think on my feet and give good feedback to my fellow EXCITE folks. Thank you again!”


State Librarian Kendall Wiggin said that “This award by the Institute of Museum and Library Services is an acknowledgement that the EXCITE is an effective collaboration tool for transforming libraries.” Wiggin added that “I am excited that we can now bring this program to other parts of the country.”


The CT State Library (CSL), Division of Library Development, in partnership with Innovation Builders (IB) and TechInPedagogy, will extend the original two-year, team-based experiential learning and bring three-day EXCITE Bootcamps to five regions around the country from June 2019 to February 2020. Each Bootcamp will accommodate four person teams from six libraries, for a total of as many as 120 participants and 30 libraries. All types of libraries, including public, academic, special, and school, may apply to participate. Self-selected teams from the entire EXCITE project may apply for additional coaching and an opportunity to compete in an “All Star Pitch Session” for seed funding to implement the new programs they develop through their training

IMLS The Institute of Museum and Library Services is celebrating its 20th Anniversary. IMLS is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 35,000 museums. Our mission has been to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement. For the past 20 years, our grant making, policy development, and research has helped libraries and museums deliver valuable services that make it possible for communities and individuals to thrive. To learn more, visit and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.