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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates
The Institute of Museum and Library Services is closely monitoring COVID-19 and its impact on museums, libraries, and the communities they serve.
IMLS News & Updates
- Webinar with the CDC: Mitigating COVID-19 When Managing Paper-Based, Circulating, and Other Types of Collections (March 30, 2020)
- Federal Government Invests $50M in Museums, Libraries to Address Digital Divide During COVID-19 (March 27, 2020)
- New Application Deadlines for IMLS Library Services Grants (March 20, 2020)
- Libraries Are a Refuge in Times of Crisis (March 13, 2020)
March 30, 2020:
"On Friday, March 27, following passage by the House, the President signed the CARES Act, which designated $50,000,000 for IMLS to be spent by September 30, 2021. The two things made clear by Congress is that our agency should use this investment to immediately, flexibly, and efficiently fund projects that will have the biggest impact in the crisis, and we should focus on digital inclusion and technical capacity building.
Other monies were created in our sister agencies and other parts of the federal government that our library and museum communities will have access to, and we are as of today beginning to coordinate with those agencies to make sure the federal response has maximum impact. We are in contact with our communities through the state library leadership, national and state library and museum associations, tribal communities, and our grantee population. We are working on new tools and metrics—we hope to have by the end of this week—that will satisfy, encourage, and track the strongest impact we can have on our communities through our grantees.
Today, we hosted a webinar with the CDC to provide information for libraries and museums and their staff and patrons to address the unique challenges of mitigating COVID-19 when managing our collections, spaces, and public interactions. We plan to continue providing this vital information, leveraging our federal role to facilitate the flow of information from the CDC and other agencies of the government in response to field needs. We will continue to provide frequent updates on the grant monies and the information on the virus as it applies to our communities."
March 25, 2020:
"The nation has been struck by a unique and universal crisis in the coronavirus pandemic. In response, the nation’s libraries and museums have stepped up in so many ways: virtual story times and e-books, virtual tours of collections and exhibits, provision of Wi-Fi, provision of important local information to an increasingly homebound community. IMLS is proud of the continuing hard work, mostly virtual, but with very real people staffing the many useful, enlightening, and needfully entertaining activities.
We are, like most federal, state, and local government agencies, putting our efforts into helping our constituencies, our libraries and museums, and their patrons through this very tough time. We are refocusing available funds where possible and coordinating with our federal partners, including the White House Coronavirus Task Force, the CDC, the FCC, and many others, to provide information, help, and resources. Our goal, as with the White House and Congress, is to provide the most immediate relief for our communities. Together, we know we can meet the biggest challenge many of our institutions and fellow citizens have known in their lifetimes."
March 16, 2020:
"It is a moment of profound stress for communities and their libraries and museums. However, several recent announcements are a welcome direction. Library and museum staff are dedicated to serving patrons and visitors online and at home, meeting the needs of their communities in new and creative ways. Internet providers are stepping up to provide connectivity at home for those who need it most. And Overdrive and a significant number of partnering publishers will be offering an expanded list of books and other materials for free or at very low cost to libraries—good news for those who need libraries and e-books, which is all of us, now more than ever. Libraries and museums have always been a critical part of American life, and this is never more evident or important than in times that challenge us."
FAQs for IMLS grant applicants and awardees with questions about the impact of COVID-19 on their IMLS-related work. These will be updated as IMLS and U.S. governmentwide guidance becomes available. Please continue to check this page for new information.
A deadline is approaching, some essential materials are in an off-limits office, and staff are under quarantine or working from home. Can an application deadline be extended?
IMLS has changed the application deadlines for five open library services grant programs. You can read the news release on the new deadlines here.
- National Leadership Grants for Libraries and Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program deadlines have moved from March 30 to April 13.
- Native American Library Services: Basic Grants deadline has moved from April 1 to April 15.
- Native American Library Services: Enhancement Grants deadline has moved from May 1 to May 15.
- Native Hawaiian Library Grants deadline has moved from May 1 to May 15.
We’re considering submitting a proposal to IMLS for a future event or meeting. How should we take COVID-19 into account with conference planning and site selection?
Health and safety considerations of the participants should always be the foremost consideration in any proposal to IMLS. Since the COVID-19 situation is still evolving, it is important to consider flexibility and alternative plans in your proposal. For domestic travel, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) offers guidance here. For foreign travel, please consult the State Department Travel Advisories website for up-to-date information.
What if we have to cancel or reschedule meetings, convenings, or other gatherings that are part of our IMLS award?
Please communicate with your IMLS program officer through your eGMS Reach account, email, or phone. Consider alternate plans, such as providing or using options for virtual participation.
Please check with airlines, rail service providers, and other transportation providers to see what opportunities may be available to waive change fees for previously purchased non-refundable travel.
Will IMLS approve an extension to an IMLS award if our planned activities are disrupted by COVID-19?
Extensions of IMLS awards will be considered on a case-by-case basis. You may submit a request for an extension through your eGMS Reach account or by contacting your IMLS program officer directly.
Can the due dates for financial and performance reports be extended?
Extensions of due dates for financial and performance reports will be considered on a case-by-case basis. You may submit a request for an extension your through your eGMS Reach account or by contacting your IMLS program officer directly.
About Coronavirus (COVID-19):
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Resources for Community- and Faith-Based Leaders
Resources for Businesses and Employers
Resources for Large Community Events & Mass Gatherings
Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Facility
Here are some additional resources that have been made available by organizations serving the museum and library communities.
Last updated: March 30, 2020