Most activities of the Institute of Museum and Library Services are authorized by Chapter 72 of Title 20 of the U.S. Code (20 USC CHAPTER 72). This statute is the result of the Museum and Library Services Act of 1996 and the reauthorization and extension of that act that took place in 2003 and 2010. Other legislation, such as the National Museum of African American History and Culture Act and the E-Government Act, also affect IMLS programs and policies.

As a federal agency administering discretionary federal programs, IMLS receives its funding through the annual appropriations process. We are one of several independent agencies whose spending limits each year are established in the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act.

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