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IMLS Reauthorization


The reauthorization bill introduced in 2016 did not get through Congress, due to all the disruption around the election.  Currently, AAM and AASLH are still working on this process, and have the continued support of Senators Reed, Collins, Cochran and Gillibrand.  The information below can give you good background on what is needed for reauthorization, and why it happens.  We will keep you posted as more progress is made in the coming year.


What is IMLS Reauthorization?


Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) recently introduced S. 3391, the Museum and Library Services Act of 2016, joined by Senators Susan Collins (R-ME), Thad Cochran (R-MS), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY). This bipartisan legislation, which the American Alliance of Museums (AAM) worked with others to help craft, would reauthorize the Institute of Museum and Library Services for six years and advance many of the Principles for IMLS Reauthorization endorsed by the museum field.


What are the bill's relevant museum impacts?

  • Formally authorizes a 21st Century Museum Professional Program, to improve the recruitment, preparation, and professional development of museum professionals, especially those from diverse and underrepresented backgrounds.
  • Maintains the agency’s existing authority to support museum activities at both the state and regional level, while adding regional museum collaboration to its “Purpose” section, akin to how state museum collaboration is currently referenced.
  • Adds a new emphasis on ensuring that every American has access to high-quality museum experiences to the “Purpose” section.
  • Maintains and augments the agency’s research, data collection, and analysis about museums and libraries.
  • Establishes new reporting to ensure that the agency sufficiently collaborates with museum and library organizations at the national, regional, and state level on its research and data collection activities.
  • Includes additional federal entities on the list of potential inter-agency partnerships, allowing IMLS to expand its collaborative efforts with other agencies and magnify support for museums and libraries.
  • Updates the agency’s governance, so that it operates more closely in alignment with other federal cultural agencies.

How can I help?

  • Individuals and individual museums are encouraged to contact legislators directly.
  • VAM has signed on to support this legislation. Join VAM and add your voice to our advocacy efforts.
  • Stay tuned for updates from VAM.

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