What is the Institute of Museum and Library Services?
Established in 1996, the Institute of Museum and Library Services is an independent agency of the United States Federal Government. As the name implies, the Institute of Museum and Library Services is the chief source of support (primarily through federal financing) for libraries and museums within the United States. This function requires the agency to create educational and strong libraries and museums that connect visitors to the resource’s information, ideas and overall inspiration.
The Institute of Museum and Library Services works at the national level in coordination with state and local entities to sustain culture, knowledge and the nation’s heritage. The goal of the agency is to enhance learning and encourage innovation to support professional development, while bolstering interest in the arts and educational resources.
History of the Institute of Museum and Library Services:
The Institute of Museum and Library Services was established by the passing of the Museum and Library Services Act of 1996–this bill also included the Library Services and Technology Act, as well as the Museum Services Act. This 1996 legislation formally integrated the Institute of Museum Services (which was operating since 1976) into to the Library Programs Office, which was formally part of the Department of Education since the early 1950’s.
Through the amendment, the Museum and Library Services Act authorizes the Institute of Museum and Library Services to foster improvements in library services and facilitate access to libraries throughout the country. Furthermore, the Museum and Library Services Act promotes efforts to help museums in fulfilling their educational roles to the community. Additionally, the Act bolsters a crucial educational service to the community by encouraging innovation and improving museum services. These initiatives are implemented to assist the conservation of educational resources and to support museums in achieving the highest standards of service to the public.
In response to a proposal by President George W. Bush, the services of the National Commission on Libraries and Information Science were consolidated under the Institute of Museum and Library Services. This agglomeration included activities of the National Center for Education Statistics, to create a unified body in support of library policy.