August 24, 2018


Press Contact:
Elizabeth Holtan,

IMLS Celebrates 20 Years of Federal Support for Native American and Native Hawaiian Libraries
Announcing Investments of More Than $5 Million to Strengthen Tribal Communities

Washington, DC—The Institute of Museum and Library Services today announced 203 grants totaling $5,063,000 through three library programs designed to support and improve library services of Native American and Native Hawaiian institutions.

This year marks two decades of IMLS awards to institutions providing library services to tribal communities. In 1996, Congress passed the Museum and Library Services Act of 1996, which created the Institute of Museum and Library Services. After the act was passed, the management of library services awards to tribes was transferred from the Department of Education to IMLS. IMLS’s Office of Library Services made its first Native American and Native Hawaiian awards in 1998. In 2018, Congress increased the amount of NANH funding by $1,000,000, providing IMLS with its largest appropriation for Native American and Native Hawaiian library services awards to date.

“This year marks an incredible milestone in our long-standing commitment to strengthen Native American and Native Hawaiian communities’ library services,” said Robin Dale, Deputy Director of the IMLS Office of Library Services. “The programs and services we support have expanded vital opportunities for professional development, improved access to information and education, and helped further the preservation and revitalization of language and culture in tribal communities across the United States.”

Native American Library Services Basic Grants support existing library operations and maintain core library services. These noncompetitive grants are distributed in equal amounts among eligible applicants. Grants totaling $1,844,442 will be provided to nearly 180 Indian tribes, Alaska native villages, regional corporations, and village corporations. See the IMLS website for a list of Native American Library Services Basic Grants recipients.

Native American Library Services Enhancement Grants bolster existing library services or implement new library services for Indian tribes. Enhancement Grants are only awarded to applicants that have an active Native American Library Services Basic Grant in the same fiscal year. IMLS received 31 applications and is awarding a total of $2,783,317 to 21 tribes in 12 states through this grant program. Information about the projects of each grantee can be found on the IMLS website.

This year, Enhancement grants will support preservation and revitalization of language and culture as well as educational programming and digital services. Examples include:

  • The Huna Totem Corporation in Southeast Alaska will conduct a two-year “Honoring our History through Stories” project to gather 20 audio recordings of veterans sharing their stories, digitize photos contributed by veterans, and develop a film series from previously recorded, uncut videos of elder interviews.
  • The Penobscot Nation will support and train members of 16 Native American tribes around intellectual property law to build understanding about tribal governance law to enhance tribes’ capacity to address critical legal and governance issues in the ongoing management and preservation of Native American collections that reside in cultural institutions across the United States.
  • The Quapaw Tribe of Oklahoma will preserve and promote the rich heritage of the Quapaw Tribe, specifically the art of pottery; increase access to information by enhancing and improving the resources of the library; promote literacy, especially for early learners; and provide area elementary students STEAM learning experiences.

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. This year, IMLS received four applications and is awarding $435,241 to three Native Hawaiian-serving organizations. Visit the IMLS website for more information about the recipients of the Native Hawaiian Library Services grants. Projects include:

  • The Hawaiian Mission Houses Historic Site and Archives’ “Mo’okῡ’auhau: Digitizing Native Hawaiian Genealogy Resources” project will serve the Native Hawaiian community both in Hawaii and throughout the world by digitizing collections held in the HMH archives for access via the internet and presenting programs on each island to demonstrate the use of the new resources.
  • Hi'ipaka LLC's Native Hawaiian Land and Culture: Geo-database for Waimea Valley, Oahu, Hawaii will support native Hawaiians' needs for cultural education and workforce development by creating a geo-referenced dataset for native Hawaiian plant collections and Hawaiian restoration areas and training of staff to catalog and document plant collections and associated data.
  • The World Indigenous Nations University Hawaii Pasifika, in partnership with ULUKAU: Hawaiian Electronic Library at the University of Hawai’I at Hilo, Nā Hawai’I ‘Im Loa, the Hawaiian Librarian Professional Association, and Hawai’inuiakea: School of Hawaiian Knowledge at the University of Hawai’I at Mānoa, will implement the Lau ā Lau ka ‘Ike project to provide culturally-appropriate organization and representation within library catalogs and other digital collections by improving access for Native Hawaiian users, particularly Hawaiian language speakers, information professionals, and the Hawaiian community as a whole.

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. Our vision is a nation where museums and libraries work together to transform the lives of individuals and communities. To learn more, visit and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Native Hawaiian Library Services
Native American Library Services