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National Issues & Priorities

Libraries and museums are improving learning in science, technology, engineering and math, a national priority for US competitiveness.

Libraries and museums care for collections that connect us to history, art, science and the natural world.

The national digital platform is a way of thinking about and approaching the digital capability and capacity of libraries and museums across the US. In this sense, it is the combination of software applications, social and technical infrastructure, and staff expertise that provide digital content, collections, and related services to users in the US.

IMLS supports professional development for museum and library professionals through our grant programs as well as by providing professional development resources and events.

photo of AAHC grantee convening

A key IMLS objective is to support communities of practice that draw on current research and evaluation literature to develop effective informal and formal learning experiences in museums and libraries.

Two boys use talking book in a library

Museums, libraries, and archives can best serve the public by making their programs and facilities as broadly accessible as possible.  This means thinking expansively about how to be widely-inclusive, welcoming, and collaborative. 

A staff member from the Humboldt County, CA Library teaches a member of the  public to use an e-book reader. Photo by Josh Jackson, Eureka Times Standard.

Libraries and museums are using broadband to expand access to content and create communities where all people have the ability to access and use information technologies.

community festival at the Miami-Dade Public Library

Libraries and museums build the civic strength of their communities and providing opportunities for public engagement. Museums and libraries are community anchors that drive economic and community development.

Early Learning

Museums and libraries have special roles in meeting the needs of the youngest learners and their caregivers.

IMLS programs support the stewardship of museum and library collections through our grant programs, as well as through sharing best practices in the development of collection plans, policies, and documentation.

Many museums and libraries have developed makerspaces, places where people can gather to create, invent, and learn, empowering them to become creators, not just consumers.

Libraries and museums are unique in their capacity to engage learners of all ages and abilities. They help our communities support learning and development, support formal education from early elementary through the highest levels of research and scholarship, and create new interactive experiences using the latest research about learning.

computer users at the Indianapolis Museum of Art

The global economy calls for new skills like critical thinking and problem solving, communication, collaboration, creativity and innovation.