U.S. Sens. Collins and King commend Bates in announcement of $250K Diverse BookFinder grant

Thanks to Maine’s U.S. senators, Bates’ just-launched Diverse BookFinder project is on the national radar.

U.S. Sen. Susan Collins will receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree at Commencement.

U.S. Sen. Susan Collins

On Sept. 7, Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King announced that the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services had awarded a quarter of a million dollars to the Diverse BookFinder, a portfolio of resources for finding diverse children’s picture books.

The announcement was disseminated nationally by The Associated Press.

The IMLS National Leadership Grant, the agency’s second grant to the Bates project, will support enhancements to the DBF’s online search engine and the further development of a tool for analyzing diversity in book collections.

U.S. Sen. Angus King

U.S. Sen. Angus King.

“Libraries are repositories of knowledge, providing important educational resources for communities in Maine that help us all learn and grow,” Collins and King said in a joint statement.

The Diverse BookFinder, they added, will help “improve our understanding of the world and prepare students to live and thrive in today’s global society.”

The statement spotlighted the DBF’s educational and developmental value for children. The resource “furthers libraries’ efforts to foster intercultural competence and positive self-image among children and enhance their ability to succeed in our diverse world.”

“We commend Bates for their efforts to advance this educational tool,” said Collins and King.

The grant, the senators also noted, will fund training opportunities for Maine librarians through the Maine State Library.

About a year ago, the IMLS gave the DBF a boost with a $20,200 “Sparks! Ignition Grant for Libraries.” Such grants provide early funding to experimental projects that may later be scaled up through the institute’s National Leadership Grant for Libraries. The “Sparks” grant supported the creation of the DBF website and searchable online database.

The IMLS supports libraries and museums nationwide with the goal of promoting innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic involvement.

Collins, Maine’s senior senator, received an honorary degree from Bates in 2017.