PLIX Receives IMLS Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program Award

Doyung Lee

The MIT Media Lab’s Public Library Innovation Exchange (PLIX) team is excited to be one of the recipients of an Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program Award in the amount of $246,782. This grant will enable the PLIX team to deliver in-person and online workshops to build capacity for 300 library professionals to implement creative STEAM learning programs in their libraries. The grant will also support an online community of practice to provide regular opportunities for collective and critical reflection among library professionals. These offerings will build off of work the PLIX team has already been doing through online and in-person workshops as well as a newly-launched online discussion forum

PLIX learning activities and facilitation techniques are informed by the Media Lab’s pedagogy of creative learning, an approach that enables library professionals to take on the responsibilities and practices of STEAM facilitation without requiring them to become subject-matter experts. This approach also helps library professionals design STEAM learning programs that emphasize equity and inclusion and feel better prepared to facilitate these experiences. “By supporting library professionals to become facilitators of creative learning programs, this project will increase access to engaging STEAM learning experiences for library patrons across the country,” said Katherine McConachie, assistant director of the MIT Media Lab’s Learning Initiative and co-founder of PLIX.

The PLIX team is looking forward to this project and is grateful for the support of IMLS. In addition, the team would like to highlight the project’s library collaborators, Cambridge Public Library and Middle Georgia Regional Library, whom the team will work closely with to host the professional development workshops. 

"As pillars of our communities, libraries and museums bring people together by providing important programs, services, and collections. These institutions are trusted spaces where people can learn, explore, and grow,” said IMLS director Crosby Kemper. “IMLS is proud to support their initiatives through our grants as they educate and enhance their communities."

You can read the full project proposal and learn about the other awardees on the IMLS website.

Stay up to date with this project by signing up for email updates on the PLIX website.


About PLIX

The Public Library Innovation Exchange (a.k.a PLIX) develops STEAM learning experiences based on MIT Media Lab research and designed for the public library setting. PLIX connects library professionals and MIT Media Lab researchers to co-design learning experiences, develop and share facilitation practices, and integrate creative learning into public library programming. PLIX strives to increase equitable access to and broaden participation in STEAM programming. To learn more, visit and follow on Twitter and Instagram.

About IMLS

The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation's libraries and museums. IMLS advances, supports, and empowers America’s museums, libraries, and related organizations through grantmaking, research, and policy development. IMLS envisions a nation where museums and libraries work together to transform the lives of individuals and communities. To learn more, visit and follow on Facebook and Twitter


This post also appeared on the PLIX website.

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