Deadline: September 24, 2021
Application: The Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) for FY 2022 (PDF 737KB) is now available.

Program Overview: The National Leadership Grants for Libraries Program (NLG-L) supports projects that address critical needs of the library and archives fields and have the potential to advance practice in these professions to strengthen library and archival services for the American public. Successful proposals will generate results such as new models, new tools, research findings, services, practices, and/or alliances that can be widely used, adapted, scaled, or replicated to extend and leverage the benefits of federal investment.

The goals for this program are to generate projects of national impact that:

  • Build the workforce and institutional capacity for managing the national information infrastructure and serving the information and education needs of the public.

  • Build the capacity of libraries and archives to lead and contribute to efforts that improve community well-being and strengthen civic engagement.

  • Improve the ability of libraries and archives to provide broad access to and use of information and collections with emphasis on collaboration to avoid duplication and maximize reach.

  • Strengthen the ability of libraries to provide services to affected communities in the event of an emergency or disaster.

  • Strengthen the ability of libraries, archives, and museums to work collaboratively for the benefit of the communities they serve.

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 NLG-L program consists of two phases. For Phase I, all applicants must submit preliminary proposals by the deadline listed above. For Phase II, selected applicants will be invited to submit full proposals. Only Invited Full Proposals will be considered for funding. Invited Full Proposals will be due March 25, 2022.

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

$50,000 to $750,000

No cost share required.

Cost sharing is not considered in the review of applications, but is an eligibility criterion for certain NLG-L projects. See the Notice of Funding Opportunity for further information on cost sharing.

Period of Performance:  One to two years for Planning Grants and Forum Grants. One to three years for Implementation Grants and Applied Research 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.

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: We invite you to watch a pre-application webinar to learn more about the program. Click here to access the recording or read the transcript.

September 24, 2021