Director’s Statements | For Applicants & Awardees | Government Info | Resources for Museums & Libraries

The Institute of Museum and Library Services is closely monitoring COVID-19 and its impact on museums, libraries, and the communities they serve. Read the Institute of Museum and Library Services’ COVID-19 Workplace Health and Safety Plan.

IMLS News & Updates

Statements from IMLS Director Crosby Kemper

March 30, 2020:

"On Friday, March 27, following passage by the House, the President signed the CARES Act, which designated $50,000,000 for IMLS to be spent by September 30, 2021. The two things made clear by Congress is that our agency should use this investment to immediately, flexibly, and efficiently fund projects that will have the biggest impact in the crisis, and we should focus on digital inclusion and technical capacity building.

Other monies were created in our sister agencies and other parts of the federal government that our library and museum communities will have access to, and we are as of today beginning to coordinate with those agencies to make sure the federal response has maximum impact. We are in contact with our communities through the state library leadership, national and state library and museum associations, tribal communities, and our grantee population. We are working on new tools and metrics—we hope to have by the end of this week—that will satisfy, encourage, and track the strongest impact we can have on our communities through our grantees.

Today, we hosted a webinar with the CDC to provide information for libraries and museums and their staff and patrons to address the unique challenges of mitigating COVID-19 when managing our collections, spaces, and public interactions. We plan to continue providing this vital information, leveraging our federal role to facilitate the flow of information from the CDC and other agencies of the government in response to field needs. We will continue to provide frequent updates on the grant monies and the information on the virus as it applies to our communities."

March 25, 2020:

"The nation has been struck by a unique and universal crisis in the coronavirus pandemic. In response, the nation’s libraries and museums have stepped up in so many ways: virtual story times and e-books, virtual tours of collections and exhibits, provision of Wi-Fi, provision of important local information to an increasingly homebound community. IMLS is proud of the continuing hard work, mostly virtual, but with very real people staffing the many useful, enlightening, and needfully entertaining activities.

We are, like most federal, state, and local government agencies, putting our efforts into helping our constituencies, our libraries and museums, and their patrons through this very tough time. We are refocusing available funds where possible and coordinating with our federal partners, including the White House Coronavirus Task Force, the CDC, the FCC, and many others, to provide information, help, and resources. Our goal, as with the White House and Congress, is to provide the most immediate relief for our communities. Together, we know we can meet the biggest challenge many of our institutions and fellow citizens have known in their lifetimes."

March 16, 2020:

"It is a moment of profound stress for communities and their libraries and museums. However, several recent announcements are a welcome direction. Library and museum staff are dedicated to serving patrons and visitors online and at home, meeting the needs of their communities in new and creative ways. Internet providers are stepping up to provide connectivity at home for those who need it most. And Overdrive and a significant number of partnering publishers will be offering an expanded list of books and other materials for free or at very low cost to libraries—good news for those who need libraries and e-books, which is all of us, now more than ever. Libraries and museums have always been a critical part of American life, and this is never more evident or important than in times that challenge us."

Information for Applicants and Grantees

FAQs for IMLS grant applicants and awardees with questions about the impact of COVID-19 on their IMLS-related work. These will be updated as IMLS and U.S. governmentwide guidance becomes available. Please continue to check the FAQs for new information.

Official Government Information and Resources

About Coronavirus (COVID-19):

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Resources for Community- and Faith-Based Leaders
Resources for Businesses and Employers
Resources for Large Community Events & Mass Gatherings
Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Facility

U.S. Government Response to COVID-19 (

FACT SHEET: Biden Administration Launches Effort to Improve Ventilation and Reduce the Spread of COVID-⁠19 in Buildings

Additional Resources:

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) - Information on Disinfectants

Federal Communications Commission (FCC)
Community Use of E-Rate-Supported Wi-Fi Networks is Permitted During School and Library Closures Due to Covid-19 Pandemic

Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA)

U.S. Small Business Administration
Federal Disaster Loans for Businesses, Private Nonprofits, Homeowners, and Renters

COVID-19 Basics: A Video Series by the National Center for Preservation Training and Technology
Personal Protective Equipment
Re-Entry to Cultural Sites
Disinfecting Cultural Resources
Download the Cultural Resources and COVID-19 PDF.
These Technical Resources are also available in Spanish.

The Heritage Emergency National Task Force (HENTF)

COVID-19 Resources for Libraries and Museums

Here are some additional resources that have been made available by organizations serving the museum and library communities.

Last updated: June 10, 2022