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Phillips Library Selected for Competitive NEH Grant

Katherine Stohlman, C'20

Phillips Library

Phillips Library, the campus library at Mount St. Mary’s University, has been selected as one of 200 libraries nationwide for the American Library Association’s American Rescue Plan: Humanities Grants for Libraries opportunity, an emergency relief program to assist libraries that have been adversely affected by the pandemic. The pandemic caused the Mount’s archives to be closed during much of 2020. Through 2021, social distancing requirements impacted the library’s ability to offer programming and exhibits.

historic-books-library-in-text.jpgWith funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) through the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, Phillips Library will use funds to anchor itself in the community as a strong humanities institution. The competitive award comes with a $10,000 grant that will help the library deliver excellent programs and services related to culture, history, literature and other humanities subjects.

The participating libraries, selected through a competitive, peer-reviewed application process, include public libraries, academic and college libraries, K-12 libraries, and tribal, special and prison libraries. Libraries were chosen with an emphasis on reaching historically underserved and/or rural communities.

“This grant will fund both preservation and exhibition of humanities related collections from the archives, particularly those that feature underrepresented voices in our collections,” said Library Director Jessica Boyer. “The Phillips Library is honored to receive this competitive grant, and we are very grateful to both the American Library Association and the National Endowment of the Humanities for this opportunity.”

A 2017 NEH grant supported a comprehensive preservation assessment of the archives, while a 2020 grant from the Delaplaine Foundation and Sally Dailey funded the purchase of an archival scanner. The 2022 ALA/NEH grant will fund the supplies needed to continue to preserve the archives’ collections as well as expand exhibit and programming offerings.

Boyer, who has been the director of Phillips Library since 2017, graduated from Mount St. Mary’s University in 2016 with Bachelor of Arts degrees in history and German. In 2017, she earned her Master’s in Library Science from Clarion University and is currently a doctoral candidate in the higher education leadership program at Concordia University.

Since becoming director, Boyer has increased the number of students in information literacy instruction sessions by 160% and the use of the library’s physical space by 27%. In 2017, she presented a lecture at the Smithsonian Museum of American History during Archives Fair on one of our collections. Additionally, she has developed two original courses: Intro to Archival Science and The History of Mount St. Mary’s. Her case study on the Archival Science course was published in the Journal of Archival Organization, an international peer-review journal.

Katherine Stohlman, C'20