LSTA Grant to SUU Library Revives Voices of the Colorado

Published: May 16, 2022 | Author: Lawrence Mbaki | Read Time: 2 minutes

LSTA Grant to SUU Library Revives Voices of the ColoradoSouthern Utah University’s Gerald R. Sherratt Library recently applied for and secured a Library Services and Technology Act grant in the amount of $15,514 to update an important community project, the Voices of the Colorado Plateau.

The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) is an independent agency of the United States federal government and the main source of federal support for libraries and museums within the US. IMLS supports libraries in Utah through the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA), administered by the Utah State Library. LSTA grants are intended to help libraries develop their central roles as community builders.

Principle investigators, SUU Assistant Professor of Library and Information Science Katharine Frazier and Executive Director and Professor of Library and Information Science Matt Nickerson, will use grant funding to create a new and updated version of the Voices of the Colorado Plateau. This unique, online, multimedia exhibit features first person narration and historic photographs that tell stories from life in and on the Colorado Plateau during the early/mid-20th century. It has proven to bridge the disconnect between users and library special collections materials by increasing representational belonging. It has also opened a pathway for users to discover more materials by serving as an introduction to the value that archival materials bring to communities.

Due to Adobe Inc. ceasing support of its Flash products just over a year ago, this exhibit is no longer supported by current web browsers. LSTA grant funds will allow the SUU Library to recreate the multimedia exhibits on a non-proprietary, sustainable platform allowing new and returning users to enjoy the multimedia content well into the future. Frazier and Nickerson hope that demonstrating one method of restoring Flash content to the web will also assist other organizations suffering from Flash-related loss of historically and culturally important materials, demonstrating how lost content is still viable via emerging technologies.

“The challenges of this project lie ahead—but so do the rewards,” said Frazier. “I anticipate the most challenging aspect of the grant will be the assessment piece later next year.”

As a first-time PI, it was exciting for Frazier to work on this grant submission and see it funded. Despite the challenges ahead, Frazier is optimistic about this and future projects secured through the assistance of the Sponsored Programs, Agreements, Research, and Contracts (SPARC) office.

“When applying for a grant, reach out to SPARC early to keep them in the loop and get their help,” said Frazier. “Working with the SPARC office made the grant application much easier. They gave such valuable feedback about the application, like where my project goals and outcomes could better align with the grant requirements.”

To learn more about Voices of the Colorado Plateau or other SUU Library exhibits and special collections, visit SUU Special Collections.

Produced by the SPARC Office
SUU’s SPARC Office provides assistance to faculty, staff, and administrators seeking external funding for their projects and programs, from concept development and planning through implementation and management of funded projects.

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