August 18, 2022

$5.2 Million Awarded to Strengthen Library Services for Tribal Communities, Native Hawaiians
Federal Grants Support Language and Cultural Preservation

A little girl holds a book while smiling at the camera.
A child with her copy of the book Iqsani's Trout Hook. Courtesy of the Alutiiq Museum.

Washington, DC—The Institute of Museum and Library Services today announced grants totaling $5,253,000 through three programs designed to support and improve library services of Native American, Native Alaskan, and Native Hawaiian organizations.

"With these awards, IMLS recognizes the importance of supporting libraries and cultural centers in First Nations and Tribal communities," said IMLS Director Crosby Kemper. "The importance of cultural learning is essential in all communities, but it is critical to embrace and honor the precious and unique heritage of Native communities. These Native American and Native Hawaiian grants expand and enhance literacy programs, language preservation, community storytelling, and digital access.”

Native American Library Services Basic Grants support existing library operations and maintain core library services. These non-competitive grants are awarded in equal amounts among eligible applicants. Grants totaling $1,297,411 were awarded to 117 Indian Tribes, Alaska Native villages, and other regional and village corporations.

Native American Library Services Enhancement Grants assist Native American Tribes in improving core library services for their communities. Enhancement Grants are only awarded to applicants that have applied for a Native American Library Services Basic Grant in the same fiscal year.

IMLS received 27 applications requesting $3,470,682 and was able to award $3,096,553 to 23 Tribes in 11 states. This year’s awarded grants will advance the preservation and revitalization of language and culture, as well as educational programming and digital services.

Native Hawaiian Library Services Grants are available to nonprofit organizations that primarily serve and represent Native Hawaiians so they can enhance existing or implement new library services. IMLS received eight applications requesting $1,187,718 and awarded $859,036 to six organizations serving Native Hawaiians.

Some examples of awarded projects include:

  • The Huna Totem Corporation will produce short films, lesson plans, and educational programming on Hoonah Tlingit traditions, history, and culture to share via an online digital archive. It also will supplement its archival holdings by recording new interviews with local elders to preserve their knowledge for future generations. The project will support travel for staff to teach a storytelling workshop in Hoonah and to host a teacher in-service and community presentation in Juneau, Alaska.

  • The San Pasqual Band of Mission Indians will enhance library resources and services and expand educational materials focusing on Kumeyaay language and culture. It will record and archive Kumeyaay language materials, offer virtual language education programming, and create new learning materials aligned with state standards. They will make more than 300 audio files of local language speakers accessible via an online repository. The project team will work closely with Kumeyaay Community College and the local school district to incorporate library resources into language education.

  • The Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma will continue to develop their online Pawnee Portal and Pawnee Nation Library through staff and technology support and community engagement. Staff and contractors will identify, filter, and process digitized and non-digitized materials found in local, state, and national repositories. Project activities will include building relationships with staff at each repository, digitizing untapped materials for acquisition, creating contextual metadata, and uploading digitized materials to the Portal. The team also will engage the community in activities and work with their Community Curator Team to develop cultural sensitivity protocols and establish acquisition priorities.

  • The Hula Preservation Society will develop, implement, and share an indigenous-centered controlled vocabulary and 40 finding aids for video-based oral histories that put the controlled vocabulary into practice. The creation of an indigenous-centered controlled vocabulary will provide the intellectual, indigenous-grounded access that will better serve researchers. 10 of the 40 finding aids will be newly created. To broaden access to the contents of HPS’s video-based elder oral history library, this project will make these products widely available online via the HPS website, the University of Hawaii library system, and the Papakilo Database of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.

  • The Papahana Kuaola will increase access to early literacy resources by developing a culture-based literacy program that engages keiki (children) with culture, history, and legacies of the Hawaiian people through books, reenacted moolelo (stories), and virtual or in-person “talk story” sessions and presentations. The project team will develop learning materials such as a project webpage, moʻolelo video presentations, online quizlets, Aliʻi identification and information cards, as well as audio recordings in English, Hawaiian, or both.

For more information about upcoming grant opportunities, please visit the IMLS website.

About the Institute of Museum and Library Services
The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation's libraries and museums. We advance, support, and empower America's museums, libraries, and related organizations through grantmaking, research, and policy development. IMLS envisions a nation where individuals and communities have access to museums and libraries to learn from and be inspired by the trusted information, ideas, and stories they contain about our diverse natural and cultural heritage. To learn more, visit and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Native American Library Services
Native Hawaiian Library Services