October 1st is the start of the new year for federal agencies. At IMLS we are looking at the past year’s accomplishments and planning for the future. Last year we made 701 grants and awards totaling more than $215,000,000 for activities that will strengthen library and museum services in thousands of communities all across the country. Through close consultation with state libraries and more than 590 museum and library professionals who have served as grant reviewers, we are aware of exciting trends that show how libraries and museums are meeting needs for lifelong learning, serving as community anchors, and making collections and content accessible to millions.
Here are some areas where we see libraries and museums making a real difference in their communities:
21st Century Skills: As the skills needed for success in the 21st century change, libraries and museums are creating new opportunities to stay current. IMLS is investing in new models, like our Learning Labs partnership with the MacArthur Foundation, to help us imagine new ways for libraries and museums to support innovation.
Workforce Development: The impact of libraries on workforce development is expanding. We have seen new partnerships take off, making it possible for us to serve citizens better.
Early Learning: Investing in young children and their families and caregivers can make a real difference in opportunities for lifelong success. IMLS announced new grants this year, and will make additional grants next year, to support programs that increase school readiness and provide summer learning opportunities.
Building Digital Success: More than 100 million Americans do not have Internet access at home. We know that lack of digital literacy skills is becoming a major barrier to success in school, on the job, and in the community. IMLS is working to develop new tools and resources to help libraries meet the digital literacy training needs of their communities.
Connecting to Collections: The work of preserving collections held in libraries and museums and providing new ways for people to use, access, and share digital collections is at a turning point. New technology and new collaborations make it possible to share information in unprecedented ways. At the same time, new and challenging issues are surfacing about sharing collections in the digital world. IMLS is supporting conversations and resource development that will help us move forward.
We are looking forward to continuing to highlight the important role of libraries and museums in creating strong communities and providing opportunities for individual success.