August 30, 2019

IMLS Invests $5 Million in Library Services for Tribal Communities
Federal Grants to Support Language and Culture Preservation, Revitalization

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

“For over two decades, IMLS has been investing in tribal library services,” said IMLS Director Dr. Kathryn K. Matthew. “These grants continue our legacy of empowering Native American tribes and Native Hawaiian organizations to preserve and maintain their unique cultural traditions, revitalize their native languages, and provide critical services to their communities.”

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 $1,960,416 will be awarded to 188 Indian tribes, Alaska native villages, and regional and village corporations.

Native American Library Services Enhancement Grants augment existing library services or implement new library services for Indian tribes. 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 $3,548,389, and was able to award $2,684,565 to 21 tribes in 9 states. This year’s awarded grants will advance the preservation and revitalization of language and culture, as well as educational programming and digital services. Examples include:

  • The Fort Belknap Indian Community Council’s Aaniiih Nakoda College Library in Montana will address Fort Belknap’s substance abuse crisis by providing community members with prevention and treatment information resources, educational programming, and outreach activities.
  • The Jemez Pueblo Community Library & Archives in New Mexico, in partnership with the Jemez Language Team, will help young tribal members learn the art of making items that are necessary for participation in traditional Jemez cultural activities, such as ancestral dances and traditional games, through a series of workshops.
  • The Chilkat Indian Village of Klukwan Community and School Library in Alaska will record and preserve elders’ knowledge of Chilkat Tlingit traditions and practices to revitalize their use by clan leaders. Access to the resulting recordings and books will be made available at the library and through interlibrary loan.
  • The Tolowa Dee-ni’ Nation in California will establish a physical and digital native plant and seed library and a propagation nursery, essential in supporting tribal and community education about local indigenous environmental practices, language, and cultural traditions.

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 is awarding $418,019 to the three organizations serving Native Hawaiians that applied for funding:

  • The Keiki O Ka Aina’s Ka Waihona ‘Ike will increase literacy skills among Native Hawaiian children from birth to eight years old by engaging parents and children with book-centered activities. The project will also provide training for parents to support literacy development and ensure access to dual Hawaiian-English language literature.
  • Papahana Kuaola will support the knowledge, preservation, and understanding of traditional Hawaiian lifestyle traditions and practices through workshops taught by cultural practitioners, offered to 800 Hawaiian community members on the islands of Oʻahu, Molokaʻi and Maui.
  • The Hula Preservation Society will create an online digital library featuring the collections of five late Hula Masters born between 1918 and 1930, providing greater access to authentic cultural resources from a Hawaiian worldview.

This month, IMLS also awarded an out-of-cycle grant to the Association of Tribal Archives, Libraries, and Museums (ATALM) to support the upcoming conference in October.

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 American Library Services
Native Hawaiian Library Services