A variety of Federal programs have provided assistance to public, school and college libraries since enactment of the original Library Services Act in 1956. For forty years, these programs concentrated on public library development and interlibrary cooperation. In 1997, Congress passed a new program, the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA), which recognizes the importance of all types of libraries in the provision of library services to Americans. The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the federal agency that administers this national grant program. LSTA currently focuses on six priorities:
The Alaska State Library administers the program for these priorities with the assistance of the Governor's Advisory Council in Libraries (GAC). This board advises the State Library on the development of the Library Services and Technology Act Alaska State Plan and on the development of specific programs. Federal funds are used to support regional services grants, the 800#/ILL backup grant, interlibrary cooperation grants, and continuing education grants.
The current LSTA Alaska State Plan outlines the goals, objectives, and activities that the State Library intends to carry out with LSTA funds to address the needs and critical issues facing libraries in Alaska. Previous versions of the state plan are included here for reference. The State Library is required by Federal law to evaluate its LSTA spending every five years; these evaluations are included here. For more information about the Institute of Museum and Library Services or the Governor's Advisory Council on Libraries, please visit their web pages.
The Institute of Museum and Library Services also administers a Federal grant program that provides direct financial support to libraries operated by Native American tribes and Alaska Native villages or councils. In Alaska, many public libraries work with the local native council to apply for these grants, while in other Alaska Native villages, the village council uses the entire grant to operate its own library.
The Native American Library Services Basic Grant is distributed annually to eligible applicants. Basic Grants are available to support existing library operations and to maintain core library services.
The Education/Assessment Option may be requested as a supplement to the Basic Grant. The purpose of the Education/Assessment Option is to provide funding for library staff to attend continuing education courses and training workshops on- or off-site, for library staff to attend or give presentations at conferences related to library services, and to hire a consultant for an on-site professional library assessment.
The Native American Library Services Enhancement Grants support projects to enhance existing library services or implement new library services, particularly as they relate to the goals of the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA). For more information on these grant programs, please visit these web pages.
Each year, the State Legislature appropriates funds for library grants to the State Library. The State Library uses 75% of this appropriation to fund the public library assistance grants. These funds are simply divided up by the number of public library outlets that are eligible for the public library grant. In recent years, the amount of the public library assistance grant for each outlet has ranged from $6,200 to $6,350. The remaining 25% of this appropriation is used to fund netlender reimbursement and interlibrary cooperation grants.