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Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program (LB21)

Grants to USA Nonprofit Institutions and Agencies
for the Professional Development of Librarians

Agency Type:


Funding Source:

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Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS)

Conf. Date:


LOI Date:


Deadline Date:

04/13/20 11:59 PM ET


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Grants to USA and territories nonprofit institutions 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. Funding is intended to motivate the library and archival field to innovate, implement, and adapt potentially transformative approaches in response to society’s demographic and cultural shifts.

The Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program (LB21) supports developing a diverse workforce of librarians to better meet the changing learning and information needs of the American public by: enhancing the training and professional development of library and archives professionals, developing faculty and library leaders, and recruiting, educating, and retaining the next generation of library and archives professionals. This work may be achieved through projects at various phases of maturity (exploring, piloting, scaling, or enhancing).

Indicators (characteristics) of successful projects in the Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program are as follows:

  • Broad impact
  • Current significance
  • Strategic collaborations
  • Demonstrated expertise
  • Diversity, equity, and inclusion

U.S. museums and libraries are at the forefront in the movement to inform and empower individuals and communities. As stewards of cultural and natural heritage with rich, authentic content, libraries and museums provide learning experiences for everyone. In FY2018-2022, each award under this program will support one of the following three goals and an associated objective from the IMLS strategic plan, Transforming Communities:

  • Promote Lifelong Learning: IMLS supports learning and literacy for people of all ages through museums and libraries. 
  • Build Capacity: IMLS strengthens the capacity of museums and libraries to improve the well-being of their communities.
  • Increase Public Access: IMLS makes strategic investments that increase access to information, ideas, and networks through libraries and museums.

The funding categories are: 

  • Planning 
  • National Forum 
  • Project 
  • Research in Service to Practice 

The application must designate one of these four funding categories. Applicants may submit as many applications as they wish; however, the same proposal may not be submitted to IMLS under more than one category. 

The project categories are: 

  • Lifelong Learning 
  • Community Catalysts 
  • National Digital Infrastructures and Initiatives 

Applications must designate one of these three project categories. Applicants may submit as many applications as they wish; however, the same proposal may not be submitted to IMLS under more than one category. Below is detailed information about each project category area.

The project types are: 

  • Pre-Professional 
  • Master’s-level 
  • Doctoral-level 
  • Early Career Development 
  • Continuing Education 

The application must designate one of these five project types. If the applicant has selected the Research in Service to Practice funding category, please select the project category that best aligns with the research focus. Note that all Early Career Development applicants should select the Early Career Development project type regardless of research focus. Applicants may submit as many applications as they wish; however, the same proposal may not be submitted to IMLS under more than one project type.

More information about indicators of success can be found at

A description of funding categories can be found at

A description of project categories can be found at

A description of project types can be found at

A list of generally allowable costs can be found at

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 162207

Estimated Total Program Funding:


Number of Grants:


Estimated Size of Grant:

- Planning Grants: Up to $100,000
- National Forum Grants: Up to $150,000
- Project Grants: Up to $1,000,000
- Research Grants: Up to $500,000

Term of Contract:

Anticipated start dates for new awards: Not earlier than August 1, 2020. Projects must begin on August 1 or September 1, 2020.

Anticipated period of performance: The grant period is: August 1, 2020– August 31, 2024. Project activities may be carried out for one to four years based on the selected project category.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

To be eligible for the Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian program, you must:
- Be either a unit of State or local government or be a private, nonprofit institution that has nonprofit status under the Internal Revenue Code of 1954, as amended, and
- Be located in one of the 50 States of the United States of America, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands, 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;
(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 an 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 or library organization 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.

Additional eligibility information for doctoral programs and early career development can be found at

A list of generally unallowable costs can be found at

Pre-Application Information:

You must submit your application through

- Due Date: Submit through by 11:59 p.m. U.S. Eastern Time on September 27, 2019, for Preliminary Proposals; April 13, 2020 for Invited Full Proposals.
- Anticipated Date of Notification of Award Decisions: July 2020 (subject to the availability of funds and IMLS discretion).
- Beginning Date of Period of Performance: Not earlier than August 1, 2020. Projects must begin on August 1, or September 1, 2020.

If you are invited to submit a full proposal you must submit a complete application by 11:59 p.m. U.S. Eastern Time on March 30, 2020. IMLS make grants only to eligible applicants that submit complete full proposal applications through, on or before this deadline. Complete applications will be accepted only from applicants who have submitted preliminary proposals and have been invited to submit a full proposal.

IMLS will not release information about the status of an application until the applications have been reviewed and all deliberations are concluded. IMLS expects to notify both successful and unsuccessful applicants of the final decisions by July 2020.

For Project Grants, projects requesting $249,999 or more in IMLS funds require a 1:1 match excluding student support costs.

An applicant organization may submit multiple applications under this announcement. Individual project directors may be named on multiple applications under this announcement. However, the same proposal may not be submitted to IMLS under more than one funding category, project category, or project type. Generally, single institutions will receive only 1-2 grants per program during any one cycle.

Before submitting an application, your organization must have a current and active D-U-N-S® number (a unique entity identifier), System for Award Management ( registration, and registration. Check your materials and registrations well in advance of the application deadline to ensure that they are accurate, current, and active.

You must register with prior to submitting your application package. The multi-step registration process generally cannot be completed in a single day. If you are not already registered, you should allow several weeks before the grant program deadline to complete this one-time process. Do not wait until the day of the application deadline to register.

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Contact Information:

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

Prior to submitting a preliminary proposal, applicants are encouraged to contact IMLS program officers, who can offer general information about the Notice of Funding Opportunity and the review process.

Jill Connors-Joyner (Early learning, Young adult services, Informal STEM learning, Making)

Sarah Fuller (Community development, Workforce development, Services for new Americans, Public health)

James Neal (Broadband, Digital inclusion, Open educational resources, Data privacy and security)

Kelcy Shepherd, (Digital collections, Digital preservation, Archives and special collections, Community archives)

Ashley Sands, PhD (Research data management, Scholarly communications, Open infrastructures)

Sandy Toro, PhD (Native American library services, Native Hawaiian library services)

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

CFDA Number:


Funding or Pin Number:


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

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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