News Garrett College Library Receives National Grant For Small And Rural Libraries - Garrett College

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Campus News

November 15, 2021

Garrett College library receives national grant for small and rural libraries

$3,000 grant will help GC's library work with residents on the indigenous history and culture in Garrett County

Garrett College has been selected as one of 100 libraries to participate in round three of Libraries Transforming Communities: Focus on Small and Rural Libraries, an American Library Association (ALA) initiative that helps library workers better serve their small and rural communities.

The competitive award comes with a $3,000 grant that will help the library build a special collection of materials by and about historic and current local indigenous groups. The Garrett College library plans to sponsor a community conversation to raise local awareness and draw attention to the resources and information on the history and culture of the indigenous peoples in Garrett County.

"We are so proud to be chosen for this amazing opportunity," said GC's director of library and learning commons Jenny Meslener. "This grant will provide an excellent resource to the college and local community, and will allow for expanded research opportunities and deeper conversations about the indigenous history of the county."

As part of the grant, a GC library staff member will take an online course in how to lead conversations, a skill vital to library work today. Staff will then host an in-person conversation with college community members and Garrett County residents about the history of the indigenous peoples in GC and share resources for attendees to learn more.

"Indigenous people have lived in, and traveled through Garrett County for over 10,000 years (," stated Dr. Ryan Harrod, GC's dean of academic affairs. "With this grant Director Meslener and the library staff at Garrett College will work to recognize and highlight this deep and rich history. As part of the grant and future funding efforts we are working to establish relationships with the Maryland Commission on Indian Affairs and federally recognized tribes that traditionally inhabited the county (e.g., Shawnee in Oklahoma and the Seneca in New York)."

The goal of this project is to educate and spread awareness to the Garrett County and Garrett College communities about the historical and cultural importance of local indigenous populations. In addition, this project will allow for materials and resources on this topic to be more accessible and discoverable for those who attempt more in-depth research on this topic. The collection will promote academic excellence and improve academic scholarship opportunities for all students and researchers in Garrett County.

If you are interested in getting involved or taking part in the conversation, please contact Meslener at or 301-387-3022, or visit for more information.

Since 2014, ALA's Libraries Transforming Communities initiative has re-imagined the role libraries play in supporting communities. Libraries of all types have utilized free dialogue and deliberation training and resources to lead community and campus forums; take part in anti-violence activities; provide a space for residents to come together and discuss challenging topics; and have productive conversations with civic leaders, library trustees and staff. "Libraries Transforming Communities: Focus on Small and Rural Libraries is an initiative of the American Library Association (ALA) in collaboration with the Association for Rural and Small Libraries (ARSL)."

LRC grant