The Institute of Museum and Library Services today announced measures to award the first $30 million of $50 million appropriated to the agency in the CARES Act.
The $30 million in the funding phase announced today will be distributed to all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. territories, and the Freely Associated States based on population. The agency is allocating these grants through its most significant in-place funding vehicle for all states and territories, State Library Administrative Agencies (SLAAs), who are encouraged to use all available mechanisms to reach museum and tribal partners, as well as traditionally eligible libraries.
These funds are in addition to previously announced measures to support the urgent needs of museums, libraries, their staff, and the communities they serve. On April 6, IMLS authorized new flexibilities for its nearly 1,300 open awards in response to the impact of COVID-19.
“Together, we must address this challenge in the places most affected by coronavirus,” said IMLS Director Crosby Kemper. “This pandemic has highlighted the fact that people in rural and tribal communities, as well as those in high-poverty areas or remote regions lacking access to broadband, have been disproportionately affected. We must target these funds to provide job, health, economic, and other high-impact relief, and this funding round focuses on providing efficient, urgent help to citizens across the nation.”
States and territories will be able to use the funds to expand digital network access, purchase internet accessible devices, and provide technical support services to citizens to address digital inclusion efforts and related technical support, using the following types of data to prioritize efforts:
- Poverty/Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP);
- Unemployment; and
- Broadband availability.
“The urgent expansion of broadband access and digital services enables people to connect to the health, community, government, and job information so critical today, and to the other programs and services that play an enhanced role in the current health emergency,” said Kemper. “While we are distributing these funds through State Library Administrative Agencies, we urge museums and related organizations to partner with libraries in this vital endeavor.”
IMLS will provide additional details and anticipated timelines of this funding availability directly to SLAAs. The agency also plans to announce additional measures to aid museums and libraries, both through its current funding and that received through the CARES Act.
UPDATE (April 13, 2020): ALA Praises IMLS For Rapid Release of COVID-19 Relief