The Library Services and Technology Act

As we approach the end of the fiscal year and look forward to a new beginning, we wanted to take some time to talk about one of the major sources of funding we receive and administer at the Utah State Library. The Library Services Act was signed into law in 1956 by Dwight D. Eisenhower in an effort to provide federal money to expand library services to rural areas. The act was a success increasing circulation, interlibrary loan programs, and creating bookmobile programs across the United States. In 1964 the Library Services Act become the Library Services and Construction Act with the goal of expanding  funding to include buildings and land and reach more underserved communities both rural and urban. In 1995 it became the Library Services and Technology Act to support the creation of technology infrastructure.

Each federal fiscal year the library receives LSTA funding through the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) Grants to States program. IMLS is an independent government agency that manages and distributes LSTA funds. We use our allotted amount in many ways.

About 66% of the money is used in house. We use this money to fund Utah’s Online Public Library, bookmobiles, the Utah State Library for the Blind and Disabled, youth programming including summer reading, interlibrary loaning, training for library staff across the state, and other special projects.

The remaining third of the funding is sub-granted. That means we give it to your libraries! Every year we regularly fund the following grants with LSTA funds:

  • Emerging Technology – With this grant we hope to meet the most basic technology needs to make sure that Utah libraries have updated and usable tech available for patrons and employees.
  • Children and Teens Book Enhancement – This grant is dedicated to assisting libraries to invest in award winning, influential, and currently important titles for children and teens.
  • Technology Enhancement – With this grant we hope that libraries will further advance their technology needs and explore new and exciting tech. For the last few years this has been a maker cart grant.
  • Competitive Projects – This is an open call for larger projects with a broader impact on communities. The scope for what type of projects are funded is broad. We are looking for projects that will make a real difference! You can explore the types of projects funded by Utah and other states here.

At the Utah State Library we strive to meet the purposes outlined in the Library Services and Technology Act. Some of the key priorities include promoting quality library services, enabling libraries to meet the needs of communities, and creating libraries that are anchor institutions for community resources and services. Every state is required to submit a five year plan discussing their commitment to fulfilling these purposes. Read our five year plan here!

Thanks to all past grantees who have submitted grant reports about how they use their LSTA money. These reports are how we communicate the success of your projects to the federal government.

If you have an idea for an LSTA project, or feel like your library would benefit from an LSTA grant please contact Rachel Cook, or explore our website for our yearly grant schedule.