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Grant to help Libraries improve student veteran resources

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
September 21st, 2015

WVU Today, September 18

Student veterans at West Virginia University will soon have more resources available right at their fingertips with a new grant from The Institute of Museum and Library Services.

The nearly $25,000 Sparks! Ignition Grant for Libraries will provide funding to help address the unique challenges student veterans face daily. WVU Libraries is just one of 20 projects selected to receive the funding and was chosen based on its potential for a broad impact through its community.

“Veterans have unique academic needs and libraries are in a position to support student veterans through a collection of developmental initiatives,” said Jerry McCarthy, Director of WVU Veterans Affairs. “This grant will foster the development of 21st century skills to veterans by customizing information literacy services and providing development initiatives for collaborative instruction to veterans that will lead to student success.”

WVU Libraries has been improving service to student veterans in recent years, as Dean of Libraries Jon E. Cawthorne, the spouse of a veteran, made it a priority on his list of initiatives.

As a first step in the WVU Libraries’ new commitment to making a meaningful contribution to the academic success of student veterans, during fall 2014, WVULibraries opened a tutoring room at the Downtown Campus Library in partnership with the WVU Office of Veteran Affairs. The dedicated space is open to tutors and student veterans taking STEM classes.

Carroll Wilkinson, the Director of Strategic Library Initiatives, initiated the IMLS Sparks! Ignition Grant in hopes of further continuing this initiative by creating and improving resources accessed by student veterans within WVU Libraries.

The grant will first allow WVU Libraries to conduct an assessment of the enrolled student veterans and dependents to determine perceptions and needs regarding library use, research effectiveness, and overall awareness of current services at the campus libraries.

Based on the outcome of the assessment, the grant will further be used to increase understanding of the library staff on the needs of student veterans and increase understanding of faculty members who teach veteran students about campus services available to students for mental and physical health, tutoring, financial aid, research support, and other sources of support on campus and increases referrals to these services where needed.

“The invitation will be more open than ever for veterans to make use of the expertise, facilities, collections, and study spaces here in the library system,” said Wilkinson.

The grant will also be used to create and make more resources available to student veterans. This includes the addition of new equipment to the Veterans Tutoring room, the creation of a mobile-capable website that contains veteran specific information, and the creation of a recruitment video that will encourage student veterans to become active users of the facilities, resources, services and expertise available through WVU Libraries.

Around 1,100 veterans and their dependents attend WVU. For more information, visit


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