Deadline: September 20, 2024*
Application: The FY 2024 open application period is now closed. The FY 2025 Notice of Funding Opportunity is not yet available. Please refer to the FY 2024 Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) (PDF, 694KB) for reference on this grant program.

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Program Overview: The Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program (LB21) supports the training and professional development of library and archives professionals; developing faculty and information leaders; and recruiting, educating, and retaining the next generation of library and archives professionals in order to develop a diverse library and archival workforce and meet the information needs of their communities.

Applications to IMLS should both advance knowledge and understanding and ensure that the federal investment made generates benefits to society. Specifically, the goals for this program are to generate projects of far-reaching impact that:

  • Recruit, train, develop, and retain a diverse workforce of library and archives professionals.

  • Develop faculty, library, and archives leaders by increasing the institutional capacity of libraries, archives, and graduate programs related to library and information science.

  • Enhance the training and professional development of the library and archival workforce to meet the needs of their communities.

Throughout its work, IMLS places importance on diversity, equity, and inclusion. This may be reflected in an IMLS-funded project in a wide range of ways, including efforts to serve individuals of diverse geographic, cultural, and socioeconomic backgrounds; individuals with disabilities; individuals with limited functional literacy or information skills; individuals having difficulty using a library or museum; and underserved urban and rural communities, including children from families with incomes below the poverty line.

Application Process: The application process for the LB21 program has two phases; applicants must begin by applying for Phase I. For Phase I, all applicants must submit Preliminary Proposals by the September 20th deadline listed for this Notice of Funding Opportunity. For Phase II, only selected applicants will be invited to submit Full Proposals, and only those Invited Full Proposals will be considered for funding. Invited Full Proposals will be due March 20, 2025*.

Award Amount and Cost Share Requirement: Award amounts and cost share requirements are as follows:

Project Type

Award Amount

Cost Share Requirement

Planning Grants

$50,000 to $150,000

No cost share required.

Forum Grants

$50,000 to $150,000

No cost share required.

Implementation Grants

$50,000 to $1,000,000

Requests of more than $249,999 in IMLS funds require at least 1:1 cost share from non-federal sources.

Applied Research Grants and Early Career Development Grants

$50,000 to $750,000

No cost share required.

Cost sharing is not considered in the peer review of applications but is an eligibility criterion for certain LB21 project types. See the Notice of Funding Opportunity for further information on cost share.

Grant Period: One to two years for Planning Grants and Forum Grants. One to three years for Implementation Grants, Applied Research Grants, and Early Career Development Grants.

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

Program Contacts: We encourage all applicants to contact the member of our team whose portfolio most closely aligns with your proposal. In order for us to best support you, please be in touch early in the application process and prior to submitting an application. We also encourage all applicants to peruse the IMLS Awarded Grants database to see projects IMLS has recently funded in this program.

Erin Barsan

Archives and special collections
Audiovisual collections
Community archives
Digital collections
Digital preservation

Jill Connors-Joyner

Diversifying the future library workforce
Early learning
Informal STEM learning and Making
School libraries
Young adult services

Sarah Fuller

Community development
Diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives
Population-specific programs and services
Public health
Workforce development

James Neal

Civic technology
Data privacy and security
Digital inclusion
Open educational resources

Dr. Ashley Sands

Data curation
Data science and AI
Open infrastructures
Scholarly communications
Web archives

If you have general questions, please contact

Grant Program Webinar: The FY 2024 webinars are available for reference.

Watch a pre-application webinar to learn more about the program.

*All grant programs are subject to the availability of funds and IMLS discretion. Deadlines are tentative.