Grant Agency Spotlight: Institute of Museum and Library Services

In this installment of our grant agency spotlight series, we look at the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and its mission to “inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement.”

According to IMLS, there are around 120,000 libraries and 35,000 museums in the U.S.

Many of these institutions – public, research, academic, tribal – have benefited from IMLS grants.

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Why Does IMLS Exist?

Here’s how IMLS explains its strategic goals in support of libraries and museums around the country:

  • “IMLS places the learner at the center and supports engaging experiences in libraries and museums that prepare people to be full participants in their local communities and our global society.”
  • “IMLS promotes museums and libraries as strong community anchors that enhance civic engagement, cultural opportunities, and economic vitality.”
  • “IMLS supports exemplary stewardship of museum and library collections and promotes the use of technology to facilitate discovery of knowledge and cultural heritage.”
  • “IMLS advises the President and Congress on plans, policies, and activities to sustain and increase public access to information and ideas.”
  • “IMLS achieves excellence in public management and performs as a model organization through strategic alignment of IMLS resources and prioritization of programmatic activities, maximizing value for the American public.”


What’s an Example of a Grant Recently Awarded by IMLS?

The Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, was recently awarded an IMLS grant of $107,706 to support a community-building project titled “Revisiting R.A.C.E.: Leveraging Archival Resources for AIDS Education.”

The “Rose Library” houses the archives for the AIDS Legacy Project, as well as “the historic documents of the SCLC/Women’s Organizational Movement for Equality Now (SCLC/W.O.M.E.N.),” reads an Emory University news release.

“With the help of the IMLS grant, the Rose Library will use its resources to educate and empower the Atlanta community and connect the stories of diverse groups to unite them through a shared history.”

Jennifer Meehan, associate director of the Rose Library, added: “We hope to realize the goal of the IMLS grant to transform how the library works with our communities, and to reinforce the university’s commitment to deepen engagement with Atlanta.” Click here to read more.


What Does the IMLS Annual Budget Look Like?

IMLS is funded through the federal government’s annual appropriations process. Here is the IMLS budget table for FY2015-2017.

Looking for more information about IMLS and its grant programs? Visit the agency’s profile page on