$15 Million in American Rescue Plan Act Grants Now Available for Library and Museum Services

Applications for Pandemic Response Funding Due June 28, 2021

Note: This grant program is not part of the American Rescue Plan Act Grants to States program that the Arkansas State Library is distributing through sub-grants to public libraries.

On May 26 the Institute of Museum and Library Services announced a new funding opportunity for libraries, museums and Native American and Native Hawaiian communities. The $15 million federal investment will provide direct support to address community needs created or exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and to assist with recovery.

“Museums and libraries have stepped up to provide their communities with essential services and access to all kinds of health, job, government, educational, social, and cultural resources,” said IMLS Director Crosby Kemper. “As places begin to reopen, these institutions will continue to be trusted spaces dedicated to sustaining communities. This funding will allow them to continue lifting up their communities and enabling them to thrive.”

The American Rescue Plan Act allocated funding to IMLS to enable libraries, museums, federally recognized tribes, and nonprofit organizations serving Native Hawaiians by supporting the vital programs and services they provide to their communities.

Proposals to this competitive grant program may continue, enhance, or expand existing programs and services, or they may launch new ones to address emergent needs and unexpected hardships. Reflecting IMLS’s goals of championing lifelong learning, strengthening community engagement, and advancing collections stewardship and access, successful projects for this grant program will:

  • Advance digital inclusion through approaches that may include, but are not limited to, improving digital platforms, online services, connectivity (e.g., hotspots), and creating digital literacy programs, as well as creating new processes and procedures needed to sustain a robust online environment.
  • Support hiring new staff and training or retraining existing staff to ensure a workforce that has the appropriate knowledge, skills, and abilities.
  • Build community-focused partnerships, networks, and alliances with organizations with an emphasis on complementing, rather than duplicating, resources and services.
  • Support the creation and delivery of online and in-person educational, interpretive, and experiential programs and exhibitions for learners of all ages.
  • Provide trusted spaces for community engagement and dialogue to foster recovery and rebuilding.
  • Support efforts to collect, preserve, manage, and interpret documentary sources and tangible objects representing all aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic experience.

The deadline for submitting applications is June 28, 2021, with award announcements anticipated in October 2021. A free informational webinar will be made available on-demand on the IMLS website. https://www.imls.gov/grants/available/imls-american-rescue-plan

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