Generous Funding from the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS) Helps Fill the Gaps in Public Library Budgets

Thanks to the IMLS, public libraries across the US can increase internet accessibility in their communities.

Grants help libraries connect their patrons with the resources they need most.

One question that many libraries face is that of funding. How can a library continue to provide amazing service, programming, computer access, and, of course, an excellent collection of books while remaining free to use? 

One source of funding is the Institute for Museum and Library Services or the IMLS. This wonderful funding body awarded $180 million to support library services in the US and its territories. Let’s take a look at some of the highlights of their amazing work!


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Improved Internet Access

Libraries provide many important community services. Crucially, libraries are one of the most easily accessible Internet access points for community members who may not have access to their own computer or internet service at home. Access to the internet means access to job opportunities, communication, creative outlets, education, and more. 

In Washington state, libraries used their IMLS grant funds to extend their wifi. Now, community members can access it from the parking lot and other outdoor areas, meaning that the library can offer this service to more people.

Libraries in Kentucky also used their IMLS funds for internet access. In addition to expanding their broadband access, they also used their funds to support laptop and hotspot lending during the pandemic at twenty libraries throughout the state. This led directly to users reporting life-changing outcomes. Some users secured employment. Others finished their schooling and completed degree programs, which would not have been possible without expanded internet access.  


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Digital Inclusion and Communication

So much of today’s communication can’t be done without computer access. In Oklahoma, IMLS digital inclusion grants helped people with vital services that would otherwise be inaccessible. This included helping community members attend telehealth appointments, take online classes, and relieve the stress of isolation by staying in touch with their family and friends.

In Ohio, rural libraries were prioritized with digital literacy trainers. These staff members provided computer classes and individualized training in the areas of the state with the greatest needs in regard to poverty and unemployment.  Alabama libraries also used their grant money to prioritize education and workforce needs throughout the state.

These services aren’t always the first thing you think of when you think of a library. We hope this brief look at what libraries across the US are doing with additional resources shows you just how important libraries are to their communities! To find out more about what your library can offer and to learn how to protect public libraries, follow EveryLibrary’s news and updates, or join our email list to get library content delivered directly to your inbox.



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