UK Researchers Receive Grant Funding to Investigate Public Library Virtual Storytimes

August 18th, 2021 (Lexington, Ky) - The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) awarded $346,311 in grant funding to researchers at the University of Kentucky to investigate school readiness supports within public library virtual storytime programs (VSTs). Maria Cahill and Soohyung Joo, associate professors in the School of Information Science (SIS), are serving as co primary investigators and Luke LeFebvre, assistant professor in SIS, and Antonio Garcia, associate professor in the College of Social Work, are co-investigators.

With the onset of COVID-19, libraries adapted and transferred normal in-person programming and services to an online environment. Storytime programs were among the programs libraries moved to a virtual format during the height of the pandemic, and many libraries will continue to offer VSTs even as conditions triggered by the pandemic subside. This research project will explore how VSTs meet the needs of children, including those from traditionally underserved populations. Building upon findings from traditional in-person storytime programs, this project will identify school readiness supports present within VSTs, illuminate how VSTs address other needs of children and their families, and investigate ways libraries might adapt VSTs and other programs to better serve children who are currently not utilizing library services.

The culmination of the project will be a set of evidence-based guidelines for virtual services designed to compliment existing resources produced by library associations to and for children and families.  

You can view the grant information and full proposal here.

About the Institute of Museum and Library Services

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