Application: The Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) for FY 2021 (PDF 500KB) is now available

Program Overview:
The Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program (LB21) supports developing a diverse workforce of librarians to better meet the changing learning and information needs of the American public by enhancing the training and professional development of library and archives professionals; developing faculty and library leaders; and recruiting educating, and retaining the next generation of library and archives professionals.

All applications must designate one of the following project categories:

  • Lifelong Learning
  • Community Catalysts
  • National Digital Infrastructures and Initiatives

The application process for the LB21 program has two phases. For Phase I, all applicants must submit two-page preliminary proposals by the deadline listed above. For Phase II, selected applicants will be invited to submit full proposals (Invited Full Proposals). Only Invited Full Proposals will be considered for funding.

Invited Full Proposals will be due March 26, 2021.

Grant Amount: Planning Grants: up to $100,000. National Forum Grants: up to $150,000. Project Grants: up to $1,000,000. Research in Service to Practice Grants: up to $750,000.

Cost Share Requirement: Cost sharing is not considered in the review of applications, but is an eligibility criterion for certain LB21 projects, as follows.

Funding category

Award amount

Cost sharing requirement

Planning Grants

Up to $100,000

No cost share required.

National Forum Grants

Up to $150,000

No cost share required.

Project Grants

Up to $1,000,000

Projects requesting more than $249,999 in IMLS funds require at least 1:1 cost share, excluding student support costs.

Research in Service to Practice Grants

Up to $750,000

No cost share required.

See the Notice of Funding Opportunity for further information on cost sharing.

Grant Period: One to two years for Planning Grants and National Forum Grants. One to three years for Project Grants and Research in Service to Practice Grants, except for doctoral program projects, which may be one to four years.

Eligibility: See the Notice of Funding Opportunity for eligibility criteria for this program.

Program Contacts: We encourage you to contact the member of our team whose portfolio most closely aligns with your proposal.

Jill Connors-Joyner,

  • Early learning
  • Young adult services
  • Informal STEM learning
  • Making

Sarah Fuller,

  • Community development
  • Workforce development
  • Services for new Americans
  • Public health

James Neal,

  • Broadband
  • Digital inclusion
  • Open educational resources
  • Data privacy and security
  • Archives and special collections
  • Community archives

Ashley Sands, PhD,

  • Research data management
  • Scholarly communications
  • Open infrastructures
  • Digital collections
  • Digital preservation

If you have general questions, please contact

Grant Program Webinar: View the pre-application webinar recorded on July 21st, 2020, to learn more about the program and ask questions.

Learn more about accessing IMLS webinars at the bottom of the Events and Webinars page of the IMLS website.