Museums and libraries play a key role in providing and preserving access to digital information. Library users download eBooks, museum visitors view digitally preserved versions of ancient manuscripts, and scholars scour thousands of documents stored in vast library databases. Free broadband in libraries helps rural and remote communities tap into these treasures as well.
With input from diverse stakeholders, IMLS is investing in digital technology grants focused on three themes:
- Expanding digital access: IMLS supports projects that increase digital inclusion, broadband access, and digital literacy, giving communities access to information on a wide spectrum of topics, such as education, workforce development, public safety, and health.
- Digitizing collections: New technologies help museums improve how they collect, preserve, and enable the use of cultural collections. IMLS supports projects that expand the capacity of museums to serve as memory institutions.
- Facilitating open research: Researchers and scholars rely on digital technologies like open source software, as well as open science, open scholarship, and open data. IMLS supports grants that build the technology used for research and scholarly communications.
IMLS supports the development of eBooks to expand access to literature and encourage reading. The Open eBook initiative provides low-income children with free access to popular eBooks through a digital application. The Library Simplified project lowers barriers to library use and collections through a SimplyE reader.
The National Digital Infrastructures and Initiatives projects are funded through the National Leadership Grants for Libraries program, the Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian program, and the Grants to States program. IMLS also encourages applications to the National Leadership Grants for Museums program that develop digital infrastructure; create efficient, shared-service approaches; scale application of existing platforms; and use linked open data standards and protocols. The Museums for America program also considers applications that focus on creating digital tools and platforms to broaden access and expand use of museums’ collections.