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The Application Process

1. Search for available grants
Grant programs and deadlines can be searched by name, by eligible institution type, and by project type.

2. Check eligibility requirements
Eligibility criteria will vary by program. Checking the program-specific criteria will help you ensure you're applying for the right grant for your institution. Read more.

3. Read application Notice of Funding Opportunities
Read through the application Notice of Funding Opportunities carefully to get all the information you need on the grant program. Read more.

4. Compose your application
Use the following Applicant Tools & Materials links to help you compose a stronger, more competitive application.

a. Sample Applications - Examples of successful applications from previous years

b. Outcome Based Evaluations - Introduction to and resources for successful program evaluation

c. Shaping Outcomes - An IMLS-funded online course on outcomes-based planning and evaluation, which will help participants improve program designs and evaluations.

d. Grantee Requirements - Administration and dissemination requirements for all grantees

e. Reviewer Materials - Guidelines and handbooks used during application review

5. Contact an IMLS Staff Member
We welcome calls from applicants and are happy to answer any questions about the grant application and review process. Conversations with staff can provide useful guidance and help you to explore how your idea may match the goals of a grant program. To reach an IMLS staff member please click on a link below for the grant program in which you are interested.

6. Submit your application via Grants.gov
Consult our Grants.gov guidelines to ensure we will receive your application, complete and on-time. Read more.

7. What happens next?
Learn how applications are reviewed and when grant announcements are made. Read more.

National Medal for Museum and Library Service
October 03, 2016

Application: The instructions and nomination form for fiscal year are now available: Download FY 2017 Nomination Form (Fill-in PDF, 520KB)

Visit the National Medals page in our National Initiatives section to learn more about the annual celebration of the National Medal recipients.

National Leadership Grants for Libraries
September 01, 2016

Application: The Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) for FY 2017 is now available.

Grant Amount: Sparks Grants: up to $25,000. Planning Grants: up to $50,000. National Forum Grants: up to $100,000. Project and Research Grants: up to $2,000,000

Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program
September 01, 2016

Application: The Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) for FY 2017 is now available.

Grant Amount: Planning Grants: up to $50,000. National Forum Grants: up to $100,000. Research Grants: up to $500,000. Project Grants: $50,000–$1,000,000.

Museum Assessment Program (MAP)
July 01, 2016

Application: The next MAP application deadline will be July 1, 2016. Please visit www.aam-us.org/map for application information.

Program Overview: 

The Museum Assessment Program (MAP) is supported through a cooperative agreement between the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the American Alliance of Museums. It is designed to help museums assess their strengths and weaknesses, and plan for the future.

STEM Expert Facilitation of Family Learning in Libraries and Museums (STEMeX)
May 01, 2016

Application: The Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) for FY 2016 is now available.

Grant Amount: Up to $1,000,000

Grant Period of Performance: Up to two years.

Cost Share Requirement: Because these are research projects, no cost sharing is required. Any cost share provided will not be considered in the review of the application.

Native Hawaiian Library Services
April 15, 2016

Application: The Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) for FY 2016 is now available.

Grant Amount: $10,000 to $150,000

Grant Period: Up to two years

Cost Share Requirements: None

Program Overview:

Native American Library Services: Enhancement Grants
April 15, 2016

Application: The Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) for FY 2016 is now available.

Grant Amount: $10,000 to $150,000

Grant Period: Up to two years

Cost Share Requirement: None

Program Overview

Native American Library Services: Basic Grants
April 15, 2016

Application: The Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) for FY 2016 is now available.

Sample Library Services Plan (PDF, 94KB)

Grant Amount: $6,000 or $7,000

Grant Period: One Year

Cost Share Requirements: None

Program Overview:

Grants to State Library Administrative Agencies
April 04, 2016

The Grants to States Program is the largest grant program run by IMLS; it provides funds to State Library Administrative Agencies (SLAAs) using a population-based formula. SLAAs may use federal funds to support statewide initiatives and services; they also may distribute the funds through subgrant competitions or cooperative agreements to public, academic, research, school, and special libraries in their state.

Program E-mail:  state programs@imls.gov

Deadline: April 02, 2015

LSTA Competitive Grants for the Pacific Region and U.S. Virgin Islands
April 01, 2016

Application: IMLS will send application information to eligible entities on a yearly basis. Application review, by peers in the field, is administered by the Regional Educational Laboratory-Pacific (REL-P) at Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning (McREL). IMLS awards grants based upon their recommendations.

Grant Amount: Varies*

Grant Period:  Awards are generally made in July with allotments expended over a 14-month period.

Sparks! Ignition Grants for Libraries
February 15, 2016

Application: The Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) for FY 2016 is now available.

Grant Amount: $10,000 to $25,000

Grant Period: Up to one year

Cost Share Requirement:  No matching requirements.

Program Contact

Tim Carrigan, Senior Library Program Officer
202-653-4639
tcarrigan@imls.gov 

National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Awards
February 01, 2016

Does your museum or library have an outstanding afterschool or out-of-school program that is transforming the lives of young people? 

Slides from January 16, 2014 webinar (PDF, 660KB)

For more information and a list of 2014 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award Recipients, see www.nahyp.org.

Sparks! Ignition Grants for Museums
December 01, 2015

Application: The Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) for FY 2016 is now available.

Grant Amount: $10,000 to $25,000

Grant Period: Up to one year

Cost Share Requirement:  No cost share requirements.

Native American/Native Hawaiian Museum Services Program
December 01, 2015

Application: The Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) for FY 2016 is now available.

Grant Amount:  $5,000 - $50,000

Grant Period: Up to two years

Cost Share Program:  No cost share requirement

Program Overview:

National Leadership Grants for Museums
December 01, 2015

Application: The Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) for FY 2016 is now available.

Grant Amount: $50,000–$500,000

Grant Period: Up to three years

Museums for America
December 01, 2015

Application: The Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) for FY 2016 is now available.

Grant Amount: $5,000–$150,000

Grant Period: Up to three years

Museum Grants for African American History and Culture
December 01, 2015

Application: The Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) for FY 2016 is now available.

Grant Amount: $5,000-$150,000

Grant Period: Up to three years

Cost Share Requirement:

Collections Assessment for Preservation Program (CAP)
TBD

T.B.D.

Application: The next CAP application deadline will be announced soon.

Program Overview:

The Collections Assessment for Preservation Program (CAP) is supported through a cooperative agreement between the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the Foundation of the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works, Inc. (FAIC).