Dean’s Update: The Libraries looks to Grants and New Sources of Funding

Dean’s Update: The Libraries looks to Grants and New Sources of Funding
Jenny James Lee
March 6, 2015

The Libraries is a service group on campus – and in the new University accounting system, that makes us an expense for income generating areas such Drexel colleges and schools. We carefully manage our given budget to achieve annual goals that focus largely on improving the student academic experience.

As we seek to be an innovative model for mid-sized academic libraries – through expanding our mission and programs – we have started to explore external funding so that we can extend our impact.

Seeking and managing grants is a new effort for the Libraries, and in this newsletter you can read a bit about the exciting projects we have been able to pursue thanks to external funding.

The Libraries will serve as a subcontractor to help WHYY provide access to its nearly 40 years of Fresh Air programming.  Recently, we submitted a preliminary grant idea to IMLS [Institute of Museum and Library Services] to expand our exploration of a tool and method to quantify the interaction of students working in a learning environment.  The IMLS will review the proposal and if interested will invite submission of a full grant proposal by June.   The research involved in this project is based on work undertaken through SCUP’s [Society for College and University Planners] Perry Chapman Prize that the team received in 2014.  That prize was awarded to a team that includes an architect and adjunct faculty member at CUNY, a colleague in the College of Informatics and myself.  

Obtaining outside funding for the Libraries to support research will require the help of numerous people.

We have worked with colleagues in the Office of Research to learn about pre-award reviews and budgeting and gained not only support to complete forms and requirements but connections to others on campus.

We benefit from the generosity of our donors, who provide discretionary funds to try new things – most recently we have focused on upgrading facilities and begun work to develop a new library place --an Information Exploratorium.  It will push students to think about and engage with information in innovative ways to create new knowledge and spark new ideas.

Though our grant-generating capacity might be limited, we are willing to learn about other projects and welcome collaborations.  In coming issues, stay tuned for more about the progress of our grant proposals but also to learn about the support needed to gather relevant data to submit proposals.   A group of the Libraries staff is reviewing our own data collecting and are planning how we might organize it into a helpful knowledge management systems that interact with other projects on campus.


Danuta A. Nitecki, PhD
Dean of Libraries