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Grants to USA Nonprofit Institutions and Agencies for Professional Development of Library and Archives Staff

Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program (LB21)


GrantWatch ID#

Funding Source
Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS)
CFDA Number: 45.313
Funding or PIN Number: LB21-FY24
Array ( [0] => American Samoa (USA); [1] => Guam (USA); [2] => Puerto Rico (USA); [3] => Virgin Islands (USA); [4] => Northern Mariana Islands (USA); )

Geographic Focus
USA Territories: American Samoa (USA);   Guam (USA);   Puerto Rico (USA);   Virgin Islands (USA);   Northern Mariana Islands (USA);
USA Compact Free Associations:The Federated States of Micronesia (USA)   Marshall Islands (USA)   Republic of Palau (USA)

Important Dates
LOI Date: 09/20/23
Deadline: 03/20/24 11:59 PM ET Save

Grant Description
Grants to USA and territories nonprofit organizations and state and local government agencies to enhance libraries through the professional development and training of library employees. Applicants must complete required registrations and submit a preliminary application prior to submitting a full proposal. Funding is intended to support the following types of projects: applied research, early career research development, implementation, forum, and planning.

The Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program (LB21) supports the training and professional development of library and archives professionals; developing faculty and information leaders; and recruiting, educating, and retaining the next generation of library and archives professionals in order to develop a diverse library and archival workforce and meet the information needs of their communities.

Applications to IMLS should both advance knowledge and understanding and ensure that the federal investment made generates benefits to society. Specifically, the goals for this program are to generate projects of far-reaching impact that:

  • Recruit, train, develop, and retain a diverse workforce of library and archives professionals.
  • Develop faculty, library, and archives leaders by increasing the institutional capacity of libraries, archives, and of graduate programs related to library and information science.
  • Enhance the training and professional development of the library and archival workforce to meet the needs of their communities.

Throughout its work, IMLS places importance on diversity, equity, and inclusion. This may be reflected in an IMLS-funded project in a wide range of ways, including efforts to serve individuals of diverse geographic, cultural, and socioeconomic backgrounds; individuals with disabilities; individuals with limited functional literacy or information skills; individuals having difficulty using a library or museum; and underserved urban and rural communities, including children from families with incomes below the poverty line.

Project Types:

  • Planning: Support exploratory activities, such as analyzing needs and feasibility; solidifying partnerships; developing project work plans; or developing prototypes, proofs of concept, and pilot studies. Applications should identify planning activities that have the potential to lead to future implementation.
  • Forum: Support convening qualified experts and key stakeholders, including those from adjacent fields as appropriate, to help explore current or emerging issues or opportunities that are important to professional development and education-related issues in libraries and archives across the nation. Reports and other deliverables should be prepared for wide dissemination. Convenings should leverage technology, such as virtual meetings or live streaming, to allow broad participation. Additional mechanisms for engaging stakeholders and building awareness of the findings are encouraged. 
  • Implementation: Support developing faculty, library, and archives leaders and contributing to the professional development and retention of library and archives staff who serve the nation. Implementation projects may develop new tools and resources or expand existing products or services for new audiences or in new contexts. Applicants should design their proposed work to ensure that new practices have the potential to be easily adoptable, sustainable, and widely implementable across the field.
  • Early Career Research Development: Support the research of untenured tenure-track library and information science faculty, furthering the faculty member’s long-term research agenda, career trajectory, and professional development. Early Career Research Development project proposals must have a single Project Director with no co-Project Directors; consultants and students may be included.
  • Applied Research: Support the investigation of key questions relevant to library or archival professional practice, building on prior empirical, theoretical, or exploratory work in libraries and archives or other relevant disciplines. Applicants must include clearly articulated research questions and feature appropriate methods, including relevant theoretical or conceptual approaches, data collection, and analysis. Findings and their implications for library and archival practice should be shared broadly throughout the grant period of performance, rather than exclusively at the end of the project. Dissemination activities should extend beyond publishing journal articles and presenting at academic conferences. 

For information on allowable costs, see:


Additional Eligibility Criteria
To be eligible for the Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program, you must:
1. Be either a unit of State or local government or be a private, nonprofit organization that has nonprofit status under the Internal Revenue Code of 1954, as amended, and
2. Be located in one of the 50 States of the United States of America, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, or the Republic of Palau.

In addition, you must qualify as one of the following six types of organizations:
1. A library or a parent organization, such as a school district, a municipality, a State agency, or an academic institution, that is responsible for the administration of a library. Eligible libraries include:
(a) Public libraries.
(b) Public elementary and secondary school libraries.
(c) Tribal libraries.
(d) College (including community college) and university libraries.
(e) Research libraries and archives that are not an integral part of an institution of higher education and that make publicly available library services and materials that are suitable for scholarly research and are not otherwise available.
(f) Private or other special library, but only if the State in which such private or special library is located determines that the library should be considered a library for purposes of Library Services and Technology (see 20 U.S.C. § 9121-9165).
(g) Archives, including institutional, community-based, and special collections, that are under the supervision of at least one permanent professional staff member and are available to the public.

2. An academic or administrative unit, such as a graduate school of library and information science that is part of an institution of higher education through which it would apply;

3. . A digital library or archives, if it makes materials publicly available and provides library or archival services, including selection, organization, description, reference, and preservation, under the supervision of at least one permanent professional staff librarian/archivist;

4. A library or archival agency that is an official agency of a State, tribal, or other unit of government and is charged by the law governing it with the extension and development of public library services within its jurisdiction;

5. A library or archives consortium that is a local, statewide, regional, interstate, or international cooperative association of library entities that provides for the systematic and effective coordination of the resources of eligible libraries or archives, as defined above, and information centers that work to improve the services delivered to the clientele of these libraries or archives; or

6. A library or archives association that exists on a permanent basis; serves libraries, archives, or library or archival professionals on a national, regional, State, or local level; and engages in activities designed to advance the well-being of libraries and the library profession.

Research projects should not be designed with a deterministic agenda or predetermined outcomes. Proposals focused on evaluation are not appropriate for the Applied Research project type.

Funding restrictions:

Pre-Application Information
Preliminary Proposals: Submit through by 11:59 p.m. U.S. Eastern Time on September 20, 2023.

Invited Full Proposals: Submit through by 11:59 p.m. U.S. Eastern Time on March 20, 2024.

Anticipated Date of Notification of Award Decisions: July 2024 (subject to the availability of funds and IMLS discretion).

The same proposal may not be submitted to IMLS under more than one project type.

For Phase I, all applicants must submit two-page Preliminary Proposals. For Phase II, selected applicants will be invited to submit full proposals.

Before submitting an application, an applicant organization must have a Unique Entity Identifier (UEI) number; a current and active System for Award Management (SAM) registration; and an active registration with an approved Authorized Organization Representative (AOR). Check materials and registrations well in advance of the application deadline to ensure that they are accurate, current, and active. For additional information, see:

For a list of application components for Phase I Preliminary Proposals, see:

For a list of application components for Phase II Invited Proposals, see:

Implementation Grants Cost Share Requirement: Requests of more than $249,999 in IMLS funds require at least 1:1 cost share from non-federal sources.

View the pre-application webinar:

Register with

View this opportunity on

For a list of application documents, see the Package tab (press Preview) on the page above.

Additional Funding Information

Estimated Total Program Funding:


Number of Grants

Estimated Size of Grant
- Planning Grants: $50,000 - $150,000
- Forum Grants: $50,000 - $150,000
- Implementation Grants: $50,000 - $1,000,000
- Early Career Research Development: $50,000 - $750,000
- Applied Research Grants: $50,000 - $750,000

Term of Contract
Anticipated period of performance: August 1, 2024 – July 31, 2027. Project activities may be carried out for one to three years, based on the selected project type.

Contact Information
For general questions, please contact

All applicants are encouraged to contact the member of the team whose portfolio most closely aligns with your proposal. Please be in touch early in the application process and prior to submitting an application.

Erin Barsan
- Archives and special collections
- Audiovisual collections
- Community archives
- Digital collections
- Digital preservation

Jill Connors-Joyner
- Diversifying the future library workforce
- Early learning
- Informal STEM learning and Making
- School libraries
- Young adult services

Sarah Fuller
- Community development
- Diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives
- Population-specific programs and services
- Public health
- Workforce development

James Neal
- Civic technology
- Data privacy and security
- Digital inclusion
- eBooks
- Open educational resources

Dr. Ashley Sands
- Data curation
- Data science and AI
- Open infrastructures
- Scholarly communications
- Web archives

Institute of Museum and Library Services
955 L’Enfant Plaza North, SW, Suite 4000
Washington, D.C. 20024-2135

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