The Association of Science and Technology Centers (ASTC), the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the American Alliance of Museums (AAM), the American Library Association (ALA), and the Network of the National Library of Medicine (NNLM) today announced the launch of Communities for Immunity, an unprecedented partnership to boost COVID-19 vaccine confidence in communities across the United States.
This important project launches at a critical moment as the United States is experiencing both a surge in COVID-19 cases related to dangerous new coronavirus variants and an urgent need to dramatically increase vaccination rates. “Throughout the pandemic, our nation’s museums and libraries have supported their communities with critical educational and social services,” said Laura Lott, President and CEO of the American Alliance of Museums. “As community pillars and trusted messengers, they are well-positioned to help build trust in and overcome hesitation to the COVID-19 vaccines.”
“IMLS is honored to join with the CDC and partners ASTC, AAM, ALA, and NNLM on this national program,” said IMLS Director Crosby Kemper. “Good information and support at the local level through Communities for Immunity and the ongoing engagement of museums and libraries will strengthen our continued fight against the pandemic.”
“As we continue to see the Delta variant spread across the country, we must come together to fight health misinformation about the COVID-19 vaccine — the best tool we have to defeat this virus,” said Dr. Vivek Murthy, U.S. Surgeon General. “Museums and libraries are the vaults that hold our knowledge and history. They educate us on the discoveries and blunders of our past. That’s the foundation upon which Communities for Immunity will equip the American people with accurate, reliable, science-based information. This partnership comes at a crucial time. We need more trusted messengers who let science lead, as they help Americans make informed health decisions for our families.”
“Access to information about vaccines and trusted messengers to effectively convey it locally is a matter of life and death. America’s 117,000 libraries provide both, serving communities at greatest risk of contracting the coronavirus and those most hesitant to receive the vaccine,” said Patty Wong, President of the American Library Association. “The American Library Association is proud to join the Communities for Immunity initiative to offer resources and funding to supercharge the capacity of our nation’s second responders.”
“There is a long history of partnering with museums, libraries, and science and technology organizations to promote health education in the U.S.,” said Judy M. Gantt, CDC Museum Director. “Through the Communities for Immunity partnership, museums and libraries are supporting CDC’s mission to prevent disease, injuries, and disability from COVID-19, while delivering fact-based information on the science of COVID-19 and helping build confidence in the vaccine.”
With support from the CDC and IMLS, ASTC will lead Communities for Immunity, which will provide funding to museums, libraries, science centers, and other cultural institutions to enhance vaccine confidence where it matters most: at the local level. Building on the many ways they have supported their communities during the pandemic, the partnership will activate museums and libraries to create and deliver evidence-driven materials and develop resources, programs, and approaches specifically designed to help museums and libraries engage diverse audiences in building trust in the COVID-19 vaccine. This includes working in partnership with ASTC-member experts on science and community engagement. Museums and libraries will leverage resources and research available on vaccines and variants disseminated by IMLS’s research partnership with OCLC and Battelle, the Reopening Archives, Libraries, and Museums (REALM) project.
“Museums and libraries are defined by their commitment to serving their communities, and we are honored to support them in doing what they do best: engaging their communities in locally-resonant learning and action to tackle big challenges,” said Christofer Nelson, President and CEO of ASTC. “As an association committed to increasing understanding of—and engagement with—science and technology among all people, we know that now is the time to lean into helping our communities through the science-focused challenge of COVID-19.”
Additional organizations joining in the effort include the Association of African American Museums (AAAM), the Association of Children’s Museums (ACM), the Association for Rural and Small Libraries (ARSL), the Association of Tribal Archives, Libraries, and Museums (ATALM), and the Urban Libraries Council (ULC). This national coalition of partners are creating a Community of Practice to develop and refine vaccine education resources that will be shared with the broader museum and library community.
Communities for Immunity builds on a number of earlier and ongoing efforts to activate engagement in vaccine confidence work, including REopening Archives, Libraries and Museums (REALM), a research partnership between OCLC, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and Battelle; Vaccines & US, led by the Smithsonian and in collaboration with a range of partner organizations and individuals; Vaccinate with Confidence from the CDC; We Can Do This from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; and the It’s Up to You campaign led by the Ad Council and COVID Collaborative.
For more information, visit CommunitiesForImmunity.org.
About the Association of Science and Technology Centers (ASTC)
Founded in 1973, ASTC is a network of nearly 700 science and technology centers and museums, and allied organizations, engaging more than 110 million people annually across North America and in almost 50 countries. With its members and partners, ASTC works towards a vision of increased understanding of—and engagement with—science and technology among all people. For more information, visit www.astc.org.
About the American Alliance of Museums (AAM)
The American Alliance of Museums has been bringing museums together since 1906, helping to develop standards and best practices, gathering and sharing knowledge on issues of concern to the entire museum community. Representing more than 35,000 individual museum professionals and volunteers, institutions, and corporate partners serving the museum field, the Alliance stands for the broad scope of the museum community. For more information, visit www.aam-us.org.
About the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS)
The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s libraries and museums. IMLS advances, supports, and empowers America’s museums, libraries, and related organizations through grantmaking, research, and policy development. IMLS’s vision is a nation where museums and libraries work together to transform the lives of individuals and communities. To learn more, visit www.imls.gov and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
About the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
CDC works 24/7 protecting America’s health, safety and security. Whether disease start at home or abroad, are curable or preventable, chronic or acute, or from human activity or deliberate attack, CDC responds to America’s most pressing health threats. CDC is headquartered in Atlanta and has experts located throughout the United States and the world. For more information about CDC, visit Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (cdc.gov).
About the American Library Association (ALA)
ALA is the foremost national organization providing resources to inspire library and information professionals to transform their communities through essential programs and services. For more than 140 years, ALA has been the trusted voice of libraries, communicating the library’s role in enhancing learning and ensuring access to information for all. For more information, visit ala.org.
About the Network of the National Library of Medicine (NNLM)
The mission of the Network of the National Library of Medicine (NNLM) is to advance the progress of medicine and improve the public’s health by providing U.S. researchers, health professionals, public health workforce, educators, and the public with equal access to biomedical and health information resources and data. NNLM’s main goals are to work through libraries and other members to support a highly trained workforce for biomedical and health information resources and data, improve health literacy, and advance health equity through information. NNLM engages meaningfully with current and future audiences to increase information access, with priority for Underrepresented Populations. NNLM members are the “field force” or trusted ambassadors for NLM products and services, providing information services, engagement, and instruction, or funding for projects to do the same, to the public, researchers, health professionals, and public health workforce.