Mansfield Library Receives National Leadership Grant

September 23, 2014

MISSOULA – The Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library at the University of Montana recently received a $49,343 National Leadership Grant from the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services.

The Electronic Irish Research Experience, or EIRE, will serve as a national model for conveying the diaspora experience through an effective combination of primary source content and scholarly context. 

During the project, partners, advisory board members and consultants will design a community- and learning-focused platform to convey the Irish-American experience. EIRE will establish and support collaborations between international libraries, archives, universities and academic programs to identify and gather materials that build community and preserve cultural heritage.

“The Mansfield Library has continued supporting the UM learning and research mission and engaging in knowledge creation through collaborative projects such as this one with other campus units and external cultural institutions,” said Library Dean Shali Zhang. “This federal award gives us an excellent opportunity to plan and design an electronic platform that conveys the Irish-American experience. This model will indeed help enhance educational experiences for the UM community and beyond.”

National Leadership Grants for Libraries support projects that address challenges faced by the library and archive fields and that have the potential to advance practice in those fields.

“Libraries are changing to meet the evolving learning, social and informational landscapes of their communities,” said Susan Hildreth, director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services. “These grants reflect truly creative thinking by library and archive professionals – along with their university, professional association and local government partners – that will ensure the continued role of libraries as community anchors for generations to come.” 

“We’re very pleased to have received this grant,” said UM Associate Professor and Project Director Julie Biando Edwards. “It was exciting to conceptualize the project in the grant-writing stages and we’re looking forward to exploring what we can develop. EIRE is truly a collaborative project that we hope will build community and preserve cultural heritage.”

Partners in the project include Traolach O’Riordain of UM’s Irish Studies Program, Ellen Crain of the Butte-Silver Bow Public Archives and Colette McKenna of the Boole Library at University College Cork, Ireland.

“From the point of view of Irish Studies, the EIRE project will contribute greatly to our mission of informing the community of the very powerful influence the Irish of Montana exerted in their adopted state and on the course of history in Ireland,” O’Riordain said. “The role of the Irish of America in the creation of modern Ireland is an area that is attracting a lot more attention in recent years, so the EIRE project is both very timely and relevant.”


Contact: Julie Biando Edwards, associate professor, Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library at UM, 406-243-4505,