The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) recently announced the availability of two grant opportunities for libraries through the National Leadership Grants for Libraries (NLG) and the Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian (LB21) programs. The deadline to submit grant proposals is September 1, 2017, and awards will be announced in January 2018. NLG and LB21 programs are funded through the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) administered by IMLS.
Libraries are encouraged to apply for these funding opportunities. An increase in applications for these programs would send a signal to Congressional appropriators, and the Administration, that these grants are needed in communities across the country. Earlier this year, the President proposed eliminating both grant programs for FY2018, cutting $13.4 million for NLG and $10.0 million for LB21. The House Appropriations Committee rejected the President’s request and in July provided funding for both programs at their FY2017 levels. The full House is expected to vote on the funding bill that includes these programs in September, as is the key Senate Subcommittee and Committee with jurisdiction over both.
The NLG program invests in projects that address challenges and opportunities faced by libraries. Work funded often produces creative and valuable new tools, research findings and models that can be widely used and have national impact. The LB21 program supports “human capital projects” for libraries and librarians. It is intended to help produce a diverse workforce of librarians to better meet the changing learning and information needs of the American public.
IMLS has announced that the next round of NLG and LB21 grants will support three kinds of projects:
- Community Anchors – projects that advance the role of libraries (and library professionals) as community anchors that foster community partnerships to encourage civic and cultural engagement, community dialogue, lifelong learning, promote digital inclusion and support local economies;
- National Digital Platform – projects or professionals that create, develop, and expand digital content and services in communities; and
- Curating Collections – projects or professionals that further preservation and the management of digital library collections.
For more information about the grant guidelines, as well as examples of previously awarded grants, visit IMLS’ NLG or the LB21 pages. IMLS also has posted informational webinars to answer potential applicants’ questions.
Grant requests will be peer-reviewed and must be submitted online by September 1, 2017, with all required documents through grants.gov. In FY2017, approximately 25% of grant requests were funded. The next grant cycle for NLG and LB21 will be announced in December.