The State Library administers the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) Grants to the States program. LSTA was enacted on September 30, 1996, as part of the federal Museum and Library Services Act. The overall purposes and priorities of the LSTA program are established in federal law. Each State Library Agency may determine which purposes and priorities its program will address.
The overall purposes of the Library Services and Technology Act 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.
The Act specifies the following priorities for the Grants to States program:
- 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.
IMLS requires a Five-Year Plan (http://www.nysl.nysed.gov/libdev/lsta/plan1722.htm) that describes the Department's mission and the library and information service needs identified for the state, and the ways in which the Department plans to use federal LSTA funds to meet those needs. For the five-year period October 1, 2017 through September 30, 2022, the Department’s plan for LSTA consists of four major goals:
- All New Yorkers will have improved access to library resources that advance and enhance their personal, educational and working lives.
- The Office of Cultural Education, library systems and libraries will deliver new and improved programs that anticipate and meet New Yorkers' evolving needs for library services.
- New Yorkers of all ages will perceive libraries as community learning spaces offering high-quality lifelong learning, literacy, and knowledge creation opportunities that enhance civic engagement and economic vitality.
- All New Yorkers will benefit from statewide programs and services of the Office of Cultural Education that effectively leverage private and public funding through collaboration and partnerships and maximize value in order to achieve goals one, two and three.
The Office of Cultural Education will carry out the goals of this plan through statewide services and, as funding allows, a grants program. The grant categories and eligibility will be defined in annual grant program guidelines. The State of New York is required to match federal LSTA funds with other funds to carry out the goals and activities described in the Five-Year Plan.
Federal Statute: Library Services and Technology Act (20 USC 9121 et seq.)
Federal Regulation: 45 CFR 1180