|Weekly News Digest
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IMLS Studies How Libraries and Museums Contribute to Social Well-Being
IMLS partnered with Reinvestment Fund for a study that “examines the role of museums and libraries in promoting social wellbeing in communities across the United States.” The resulting report, “Understanding the Social Wellbeing Impacts of the Nation’s Libraries and Museums,” finds “the presence and usage of public libraries and museums to be positively associated with multiple dimensions of social wellbeing—in particular, community health, school effectiveness, institutional connection, and cultural opportunity.”
Other key findings include the following:
- Libraries and museums are increasingly critical actors supporting social service provision in the communities they serve. In many places these institutions are stepping into gaps left by depleted, or absent, public sector supports for education, public health, and social services. The roles they are taking on to fill these gaps often stretch their organizational capacity and missions in an effort to address resident needs that have historically been served by the public sector.
- Libraries and museums are trusted institutions in their communities. They are places people go to get information they know is reliable. They are places people go to meet other people, learn new things, engage with the institutions’ collections, and to enjoy themselves and the company of others. …
- Libraries and museums can be catalysts in their communities to promote racial equity and inclusion. The reality that these institutions are highly networked in their communities, widely perceived as trusted organizations, and hosts to diverse populations who circulate through their spaces make libraries and museums potential catalysts to advance racial equity and inclusion in their communities.
- It’s all about the networks. Libraries and museums are critical components of institutional and social networks. In smaller, more remote areas, they are often indispensable resources for local residents. The value these institutions provide flows from the connections they facilitate between individuals, groups, and other organizations. …
For more information, read the press release.
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