2017 Performance and Accountability Report for the Institute of Museum and Library Services | NOVEMBER 15, 2017
“When IMLS was created in 1996, lawmakers cited “great potential in an Institute that is focused on the combined roles that libraries and museums play in our community life.” The agency has carried on that charge, serving the needs of museums and libraries across the United States and its territories. IMLS designs grants and programs for libraries of all types: public, research, academic and tribal; and museums of all disciplines: history, botanic gardens, aquariums, science and technology centers, children’s museums, and zoos. As a federal grant making agency, IMLS continues to serve as the primary source of federal support for the nation’s approximately 120,000 libraries and 35,000 museums and related organizations…
We’ve started the Community Catalyst initiative, exploring the readiness of museums and libraries to adopt adaptive, collaborative models. In the past year, we offered a special funding opportunity, Activating Community Opportunities Using Museums/Libraries as Assets, to enable museums and libraries to test new approaches to working with their communities to bring about positive change around a shared vision or goal. Community Catalyst calls upon libraries and museums—anchor institutions within their communities—to engage in proactive, creative and adaptive collaborations in support of community development and revitalization. This process seeks to encourage libraries and museums to look broadly for partners to achieve greater impact and reach in to their communities, partners such as local governments and service providers, educational institutions, local businesses, and philanthropic investors.”
Kathryn K. Matthew, PhD
Director, Institute of Museum and Library Services
All the programs support the following goals, as stated in the updated IMLS statute (20 U.S.C. § 9121):
• to enhance coordination among federal programs that relate to library and information services;
• to promote continuous improvement in library services in all types of libraries in order to better serve the people of the United States;
• to facilitate access to resources in all types of libraries for the purpose of cultivating an educated and informed citizenry;
• to encourage resource sharing among all types of libraries for the purpose of achieving economical and efficient delivery of library services to the public;
• to promote literacy, education, and lifelong learning and to enhance and expand the services and resources provided by libraries, including those services and resources relating to workforce development, 21st century skills, and digital literacy skills;
• to enhance the skills of the current library workforce and to recruit future professionals to the field of library and information services;
• to ensure the preservation of knowledge and library collections in all formats and to enable libraries to serve their communities during disasters;
• to enhance the role of libraries within the information infrastructure of the United States in order to support research, education, and innovation; and
• to promote library services that provide users with access to information through national, state, local, regional, and international collaborations and networks.
COMMUNITY CATALYST INITIATIVE
Many museums and libraries carry out their missions in ways that extend beyond traditional formats and objectives, often serving their cities and towns as enablers of community vitality and co-creators of positive community change. IMLS is helping to identify and support conceptual frameworks and successful approaches that support this type of work through its Community Catalyst Initiative. This initiative calls upon libraries and museums to engage in collaborative arrangements that facilitate and support local community development and
economic revitalization. Libraries and museums are encouraged to identify and leverage local assets, along with their own resources and competencies, to achieve greater impact and
reach in their communities.
IMLS LIBRARY SURVEYS
IMLS also manages a federal statistical program, which identifies national trends and the public use and effectiveness of museum, library, and information services. The statistical survey
programs provide reliable and objective data in a wide variety of formats used by policy makers and practitioners to inform policy decisions. For example, these data are used by policymakers at the state and local levels to compare conditions in libraries of comparable sizes, by researchers to analyze and improve the state-of-the-art public librarianship, and by private companies seeking reliable national, state, and local statistics for developing business plans and marketing strategies within the library sector of the economy. These statistical survey programs include:
• The Public Libraries Survey, which provides information on key metrics of library health and services across the United States and the outlying territories, and tracks trends in libraries. In addition to the longstanding library data collections efforts, IMLS uses other federal data to analyze how public libraries serve their communities, and produces a report of overall findings, research briefs highlighting topics of general interest, and a public use data file.
• The State Library Administrative Agency Survey, conducted every two years, which describes information the current state and health of state library administrative agencies. IMLS produces a summary report of the overall survey findings an a public use data file, which are used by the Chief Officers of State Library Agencies, federal policy makers, government and library administrators at federal, state, and local levels, researchers, and the American Library Association.
SAFETY AND DISASTER PREPAREDNESS
During natural disasters, museums and libraries often serve as community resources, gathering places, and as providers of information, and if their facilities are intact, they can play crucial
roles in recovery efforts. This includes:
• Serving as places of physical refuge and sources of Wi-Fi, internet access, phone access, and electricity;
• Providing help, advice, and information about recovery assistance such as registering with FEMA and hosting financial planning seminar;
• Serving as safe gathering places during times of crisis, using arts and cultural assets to help with recovery, healing, and building resilience;
• Serving as gathering places for FEMA workers, Red Cross workers, and others who needed physical headquarters for their relief work;
• Serving as sources of volunteer networks that are familiar with community needs; and
• Serving as important partners in creating community plans for emergency preparedness and disaster response.
Strategic Goal 1:
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.
Objective 1.1: Invest in projects that provide inclusive and accessible learning opportunities to individuals of diverse geographic, cultural, special needs, and socioeconomic backgrounds.
Objective 1.2: Support communities of practice that draw on current research and evaluation literature to develop effective informal and formal learning experiences in museums and libraries.
Objective 1.3: Facilitate partnerships among museums, libraries, and other education providers to expand learning opportunities for the public.
Objective 1.4: Support the training and development of museum and library leadership to meet the needs of diverse publics in a rapidly changing environment.
Strategic Goal 2:
IMLS promotes museums and libraries as strong community anchors that enhance civic engagement, cultural opportunities, and economic vitality.
Objective 2.1: Invest in projects that strengthen the role of libraries and museums as core components of a broader community learning and service infrastructure.
Objective 2.2: Partner with other federal agencies to leverage the resources of libraries and museums in advancing national priorities, including education, health, disaster preparedness, digital literacy and economic and workforce development.
Objective 2.3: Ensure that public and private sector leaders have the information they need to make strategic policy and investment decisions that leverage the infrastructure and expertise of museums and libraries.
Strategic Goal 3:
IMLS supports exemplary stewardship of museum and library collections and promotes the use of technology to facilitate discovery of knowledge and cultural heritage.
Objective 3.1: Support the care and management of the nation’s collections, both material and living, to expand and sustain access for current and future generations.
Objective 3.2: Develop and implement a nationwide strategy to expand public access to the information, meaning, and content found in museum and library collections.
https://www.imls.gov/about-us The mission of IMLS is to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement. We provide leadership through research, policy development, and grant making.