June 6, 2017, Atlanta, GA – LYRASIS, one of the nation’s largest non-profits serving archives, libraries and museums, is pleased to announce support for six Catalyst Fund projects valued at $135,000 to foster innovation among members and knowledge communities worldwide. A new LYRASIS program, the Catalyst Fund offers “kickstarter” funds to incubate new ideas and test creative approaches to advance objectives of member institutions. Projects were chosen by LYRASIS Leaders Circle participants based on the merit of the idea and the potential positive impact on the wider field of libraries, archives and museums.

The LYRASIS Catalyst Fund is part of a new leadership initiative started by LYRASIS in 2015, featuring three interconnected programs: the Leaders Circle, Leaders Forums and Catalyst Fund. These programs support and implement new ideas and put LYRASIS members at the forefront of collaboration. The Leaders Circle is a membership program that brings together a diverse group of knowledgeable professionals to discuss, design and foster real-world solutions to challenges within the community. The Leaders Forums are regional in-person meetings, 16 so far, where thought leaders and practitioners help identify the needs, challenges and opportunities faced by knowledge professionals on a daily basis. The Catalyst Fund grew out of the Leaders Circle and Leaders Forums as a way to actively advance new ideas and re-invest in our members.

The following is a list of Catalyst Fund award recipients, the amount awarded and the project name. Five Project proposals (to be implemented by the applying institution) and one Idea (to be implemented outside the applying institution) were funded.

  • Columbia University – “Feasibility Study for a Copyright Education Center” – $30,000
  • Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) – “Advancing 3D Digitization and Metadata Conventions” – $29,500
  • Johnson C. Smith University – “A Digital Map of the Historic West End” – $25,000
  • University of Nebraska, Omaha – “Mobile Digitization for Rural Community Archives” – $5,550
  • University of North Carolina, Charlotte – “Leverage IoT Devices to Aid in Discovery and Use of Collections” – approximately $18,000 earmarked for testing through LYRASIS
  • Washburn University – “From Information Literate to Information Fluent: Information Literacy for Middle and High School Students” – $26,548

LYRASIS began accepting applications to the Catalyst Fund in January 2017. Applicants could choose to apply for funding for a project they would manage locally, or suggest an idea that, if selected, would be implemented by LYRASIS with the applicant’s assistance. All applications were reviewed by experts in the field and then voted on by participants in the LYRASIS Leaders Circle. Recipients will report on progress and findings at the 2017 LYRASIS Member Summit. This is the first year of the LYRASIS Catalyst Fund. The second round of applications and projects will begin after the 2017 LYRASIS Member Summit, October 11-12 in Philadelphia, PA.

“The Catalyst Fund grew from the leadership initiatives – the Leaders Circle and Leaders Forums – we kicked off last year. We heard over and over again that there is a funding gap for libraries, archives and museums, and that good ideas and projects were being lost along the way. LYRASIS wanted to help translate the great work of our Leaders Circle and Leaders Forums into tangible, real-world results, so we decided to invest actual capital back into our community to get these new projects and ideas off the ground. We’re thrilled with the response to the program – we would have been excited to receive 10 applications and a whopping 61 were submitted. We can’t wait to see the results of these projects. I believe the Catalyst Fund is a great way to invest in our members and help us all punch above our weight,” says Robert Miller, CEO of LYRASIS and the founder of the new LYRASIS Leadership Initiatives.

About the Catalyst Fund

The Catalyst Fund is a LYRASIS Leadership Initiative that fosters innovation for libraries, archives and museums with kickstarter funds for projects and ideas that benefit the wider field of knowledge professionals. It is funded through a portion of the LYRASIS endowment and is open exclusively to LYRASIS members. Click here to learn more about the Catalyst Fund.