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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)

Agency Type:


Funding Source:

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Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS)

LOI Date:


Deadline Date:

03/17/23 11:59 PM ET


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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 submit an LOI prior to submitting a full application and should register online several weeks before applying.

The Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program (LB21) supports the development of a diverse workforce of librarians and archivists in order to meet the information needs of their communities by enhancing 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.

The goals for this program are to generate projects of broad 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. Research projects should not be designed with a deterministic agenda or predetermined outcomes. 

For more information on project types, see:

For information on allowable costs, see:

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 162207

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:

August 1, 2023 – July 31, 2026. Project activities may be carried out for one to three years, based on the selected project type.

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) College (including community college) and university libraries
(d) 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 not otherwise available. Research libraries must be under the supervision of at least one permanent professional staff librarian and must be either generally recognized as possessing unique, scholarly research materials and services that are made available to the public, or able to demonstrate that such is the case when submitting an application to IMLS.
(e) 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);

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 make application;

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

4. A library agency that is an official agency of a State 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 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, as defined above, and information centers that work to improve the services delivered to the clientele of these libraries; or

6. A library association that exists on a permanent basis; serves libraries or library 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.

Funding restrictions:

Pre-proposal Conference:

The funding source invites you to watch a pre-application webinar to learn more about the program here:

Pre-Application Information:

For the Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program, will accept Preliminary Proposal applications through 11:59 p.m. U.S. Eastern Time on September 21, 2022. IMLS plans to extend invitations to submit full proposals in February 2023. Invited Full Proposal applications will be due through by 11:59 p.m. U.S. Eastern Time on March 17, 2023.

Anticipated Date of Notification of Award Decisions: July 2023 (subject to the availability of funds and IMLS discretion).

Beginning Date of Period of Performance: Projects must begin on August 1, 2023.

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.

Until April 2022, all non-federal entities were required to obtain a Dun and Bradstreet Data Universal Numbering System (D-U-N-S®) Number in order to apply for, receive, and report on federal awards. The Unique Entity Identifier (UEI) has replaced the D-U-N-S® Number and is requested in, and assigned by, the System for Award Management (SAM). Applicants with active SAM registrations can find their assigned UEI in their SAM records. Applicants without active SAM registrations will receive a UEI when they register in SAM.

The System for Award Management (SAM) is a federal repository that centralizes information about
grant applicants and recipients and is free to all users. Applicants must be registered with SAM before registering with For registration 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:

For cost share requirements, see:

View this opportunity on

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

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

For general questions, please contact

The funding source encourages all applicants to contact the member of the team whose portfolio most closely aligns with your proposal. In order for the funding source to best support you, 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 (Early learning, Young adult services, Informal STEM learning, Making, School Libraries)

Sarah Fuller (Community development, Workforce development, Services for immigrants and refugees, Public health)

James Neal (Broadband, Digital inclusion, Open educational resources, Data privacy and security, Archives and special collections, Community archives)

Ashley Sands, PhD (Research data management, Scholarly communications, Open infrastructures, Digital collections, and Digital preservation)

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

CFDA Number:


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URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Alabama;   Alaska;   Arizona;   Arkansas;   California;   Colorado;   Connecticut;   Delaware;   Florida;   Georgia;   Hawaii;   Idaho;   Illinois;   Indiana;   Iowa;   Kansas;   Kentucky;   Louisiana;   Maine;   Maryland;   Massachusetts;   Michigan;   Minnesota;   Mississippi;   Missouri;   Montana;   Nebraska;   Nevada;   New Hampshire;   New Jersey;   New Mexico;   New York City;   New York;   North Carolina;   North Dakota;   Ohio;   Oklahoma;   Oregon;   Pennsylvania;   Rhode Island;   South Carolina;   South Dakota;   Tennessee;   Texas;   Utah;   Vermont;   Virginia;   Washington, DC;   Washington;   West Virginia;   Wisconsin;   Wyoming

Array ( [0] => American Samoa (USA); [1] => Guam (USA); [2] => Puerto Rico (USA); [3] => Virgin Islands (USA); [4] => Northern Mariana Islands (USA); )

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)

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