The American Alliance of Museums has partnered with 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 Library Association (ALA), and the Network of the National Library of Medicine (NNLM) on a new project to boost COVID-19 vaccine confidence across the US
Communities for Immunity has been announced amid a surge of cases across the country and a need to boost the number of people choosing to get vaccinated.
“Throughout the pandemic, our nation’s museums and libraries have supported their communities with critical educational and social services,” says 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 honoured to join with the CDC and partners ASTC, AAM, ALA, and NNLM on this national program,” says 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,” adds 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
“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,” says 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.,” says 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.”
Increasing vaccine confidence
The project will provide funding for museums, libraries and other cultural institutions to increase vaccine confidence at the local level. Following their work to connect with communities during the pandemic, these organisations are well-positioned to do this. They will create evidence-driven materials, resources and programmes in order to engage meaningfully with their audiences.
This includes working with ASTC-member experts on science and community engagement. Museums and libraries will be able to use a range of resources and research available on vaccines and variants, thanks to 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 honoured to support them in doing what they do best: engaging their communities in locally-resonant learning and action to tackle big challenges,” says 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.”
Other organisations involved in the programme are 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).
Earlier this month, AAM announced the launch of its 2020 Impact Report and Strategic Plan Retrospective.