Institute of Museum and Library Services
Institute of Museum and Library Services. Established in 1996, this federal agency’s function is to support libraries and museums.The agency was a consolidation of the Institute of Museum Services and the Library Programs Office that was a part of the Department of Education. Two laws set up the basic goals of the institute; The Library Service and Technology Act of 1996 and the Museum Services Act of 1996. The institute provides support for 123,000 libraries and 17,500 museums nationwide.
The agency has a budget of over $200 million dollars per year. Part of the budget is awarded in the form of grants to libraries and museums each year. There are numerous grant programs for each type of institution. For libraries, for instance, there is the Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program which supports research, professional development, career building and information science to promote the education of the next generation of librarians.
The Save America’s Treasures grant seeks to preserve the nation’s cultural treasures. This grant is intended to provide funds for the safekeeping of documents, artifacts and works of art that tell the story of the nation and should be passed down to future generations.
Other programs include funding of public libraries, encouraging museums to interact with the community, and providing resources and cooperation between different institutions. Ongoing education is offered such as online seminars to educate leaders at institutions about public relations, community involvement, caring for collections, funding, and leadership skills.
The institute also helps institutions to be more inclusive. From providing services to those who are disabled to providing resources to Spanish speaking community members. This might include providing funds and information about making libraries more wheelchair accessible or providing alternative languages at museum exhibits.
Another function of the Institute of Museum and Library Services is to analyze libraries and museums. In cooperation with state agencies the institute reports on the effectiveness of library and museum programs, particularly with regard to the use of funds that were awarded by the institute.