About Us - Issues

21st Century Skills

The global economy calls for new skills like critical thinking and problem solving, communication, collaboration, creativity and innovation.

Museums, Libraries, and 21st Century SkillsNational Initiative: Museums, Libraries, and 21st Century Skills
The Institute's Museums, Libraries, and 21st Century Skills initiative underscores the critical role our nation’s museums and libraries play in helping citizens build such 21st century skills as information, communications and technology literacy, critical thinking, problem solving, creativity, civic literacy, and global awareness.

Stem Video Game Challenge logoPartnership: STEM Video Game Challenge
IMLS is a National Community Sponsor of the National STEM Video Game Challenge. The Challenge, now in its third year, was inspired by President Obama’s "Educate to Innovate" Campaign, promoting science, technology, engineering and math education.

Search the Awarded Grants database for grants to programs that strengthen 21st century skills (issue areas have only been assigned to grants awarded since FY 2009)

21st century skills content on the IMLS Web site:
National Medal Image
Thirty Museums and Libraries Tapped as Finalists for National Medal

February 24, 2015 09:28 AM
For 21 years, the National Medal for Museum and Library Service has celebrated institutions that demonstrate extraordinary and innovative approaches to public service to make a difference for individuals, families, and communities. Read More

 
Exploratorium logo
STEM-Rich Afterschool Making Project of IMLS and Exploratorium is Part of Interagency Learning Collaboration for Underserved Students

February 3, 2015 12:01 PM
The project will use STEM-focused content, instructional strategies, and training approaches developed by science museums to help 21st Century Community Learning Centers offer making activities. Read More

 
Grant Will Connect Early Learning Services of Museums and Libraries with Medical Community

January 8, 2015 01:43 PM
Reach Out and Read’s New Project is a "Prescription for Success." Read More

 
Susan Crawford interviewing Tim Berners Lee
Blog Post: #NetGain: #NetGain: The Role of Libraries on the Web as a Public Good

March 2, 2015 10:42 AM
At the kick-off event for the NetGain Challenge, created to ensure that the web of the future is one that supports a broad public good, discussion often focused on the key central, civic, and social role of libraries. Read More

 
data.imls.gov homepage Screenshot
Blog Post: IMLS and Open Government Initiatives

February 19, 2015 11:25 AM
The principles of open government are critical to the mission of IMLS. Today’s launch of data.imls.gov will help unlock the power of government data to spur research and innovation. Read More

 
Susan Hildreth
Blog Post: A Message of Farewell

January 15, 2015 03:53 PM
During my four years leading IMLS, we helped shaped a future course for the nation’s libraries and museums through our investments, partnerships, and leadership initiatives. Read More

 
LearningLabsReport 1
Learning Labs in Libraries and Museums:Transformative Spaces for Teens


Learn how 24 cities and counties applied new research about young people’s media practices to create physical and digital spaces for learning. This publication describes lessons learned, new models and practices and the impact of Learning Labs, supported by IMLS and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Read More

 
cover of Museums, Libraries, and 21st Century Skills report
Museums, Libraries, and 21st Century Skills Report


This report outlines a vision for the role of libraries and museums in the national dialogue around learning and 21st century skills and includes case studies of innovative audience engagement and 21st century skills practices from across the country. Read More

 
Teens 1
Talking Points: From Third Place to Makerspace: Public Libraries and Teens


A snapshot of how public libraries reach out to teens with programs and services. Read More

 
Talking Points: Adult Literacy Cover
Talking Points: Adults Gain Skills at the Library


Short overview of the impact of library services for adult literacy. Read More

 
cpver of Talking Points: Makerspaces
Talking Points: Museums, Libraries, and Makerspaces


Quick summary of makerspaces -- hands-on, mentor-led learning environments to make and remake the physical and digital worlds -- in museums and libraries. Read More

 
21st Century Skills podcast

August 11, 2010 03:54 PM
In this podcast, Acting Director Marsha L. Semmel explains: 1) What are 21st century skills? 2) Where did the 21st century skills movement come from? 3) Where do museums and libraries fit in the 21st century skills movement? Semmel also describes Making the Learning Connection, IMLS’s national campaign to better understand the opportunities, challenges, and key issues facing today’s museums and libraries in their efforts to meet their communities’ 21st century learning needs. The campaign includes an eight-city workshop tour, a national contest, new online tools and resources, and a series of interactive webinars. Read More