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LSTA Grants for Public Libraries: About LSTA

Information about the LSTA program, instructions and forms for public libraries seeking sub-grants, and tips for evaluation of grant-funded services

About LSTA

The Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA), the only federal program exclusively created for libraries, is administered by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).

Federal Purposes for the Use of LSTA Grant Funds*

The LSTA program represents a modernization and reconfiguration of the LSCA, building on the strengths of that program but sharpening the focus on technology, resource sharing, and targeted services. The LSTA purposes as reissued by IMLS (20 U.S.C. § 9121) are to:

  • Enhance coordination among federal programs that relate to library and information services;

  • Promote continuous improvement in library services in all types of libraries in order to better serve the people of the United States;

  • Facilitate access to resources in all types of libraries for the purpose of cultivating an educated and informed citizenry;

  • Encourage resource sharing among all types of libraries for the purpose of achieving economical and efficient delivery of library services to the public;

  • Promote literacy, education, and lifelong learning and to enhance and expand the services and resources provided by libraries, including those services and resources relating to workforce development, 21st century skills, and digital literacy skills;

  • Enhance the skills of the current library workforce and to recruit future professionals to the field of library and information services;

  • Ensure the preservation of knowledge and library collections in all formats and to enable libraries to serve their communities during disasters;

  • Enhance the role of libraries within the information infrastructure of the United States in order to support research, education, and innovation; and

  • Promote library services that provide users with access to information through national, state, local, regional, and international collaborations and networks.

Federal Priorities for the Use of LSTA Grant Funds (20 U.S.C. § 9141)

  • Expand services for learning and access to information and educational resources in a variety of formats, in all types of libraries, for individuals of all ages in order to support such individuals' needs for education, lifelong learning, workforce development, and digital literacy skills;
  • Establish or enhance electronic and other linkages and improved coordination among and between libraries and entities for the purpose of improving the quality of and access to library and information services;
  • Provide training and professional development, including continuing education, to enhance the skills of the current library workforce and leadership, and advance the delivery of library and information services;
  • Enhance efforts to recruit future professionals to the field of library and information services;
  • Develop public and private partnerships with other agencies and community-based organizations;
  • Target library services to individuals of diverse geographic, cultural, and socioeconomic backgrounds, and to individuals with limited functional literacy or information skills;
  • Target library and information services to persons having difficulty using a library and to underserved urban and rural communities, including children (from birth through age 17) from families with incomes below the poverty line (as defined by the Office of Management and Budget and revised annually in accordance with section 9902(2) of title 42) applicable to a family of the size involved;
  • Develop library services that provide all users access to information through local, state, regional, national, and international collaborations and networks; and
  • Carry out other activities consistent with the purposes set forth in section 9121, as described in the SLAA's plan.

LSTA Legislative Overview

On April 30, 1996, Congress passed and the President signed the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA). The Museum and Library Services Act of 1996 (P.L. 104-208) created the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). It moved the federal library programs from the Department of Education and the museum programs of the former Institute of Museum Services to the new agency. LSTA allocates federal funds to state library agencies for statewide services and for subgrants for technology and for targeting library and information services to persons who have difficulty using a library.

In September 2003, President George W. Bush signed into law H.R. 13 the Museum and Library Services Act of 2003 (P.L. 108—81). The legislation reauthorized federal support provided by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). Amendments made to the Act became effective on October 1, 2003. Through the legislation, using a population-based formula, IMLS provides funds to State Library Administrative Agencies (SLAAs). The funds are dispersed to every state in the nation and the territories to enhance library services in public, school, academic and research libraries and archives. State Libraries may use their LSTA appropriation to support statewide initiatives and services; states may also distribute the funds through sub grant competitions or cooperative agreements.

* All LSTA supported programs and/or projects must meet at least one of the six federal purposes/priorities as specifically outlined in the LSTA legislation (20 U.S.C. 9141) and at least one of the state goals as identified in South Carolina's LSTA Five Year State Plan 2018-2022. 


LSTA Administration

For additional information on LSTA grants in South Carolina, contact the LSTA Coordinator, Alexandra Sanders, (803) 734-8917.

To submit a comment or complaint about the administration of LSTA grants, please contact the SCSL Director, Leesa Aiken, (803) 734-8668.