LSTA grant awards are made possible by funding from the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) as administered by the State Library of North Carolina, a division of the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. LSTA grants are awarded in response to specific needs of public, academic and community college libraries. These federal funds are investments that help libraries deliver relevant and up-to-date services to their communities.
The purposes and priorities outlined in the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) are reflected in the Five Year Plan submitted to the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and in the projects that are supported through North Carolina's LSTA program.
Overall Purposes of LSTA (20 U.S.C. § 9121)
- 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.
LSTA-specified Grants to States Priorities (20 U.S.C. § 9141)
- 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.
Plan and Evaluation
North Carolina's LSTA program is guided by our 2018-2022 Five-Year Plan. Capacity, Access, and Community are the three primary categories representing the current and future needs of library users and libraries in our state.
Goal 1: Strengthening Capacity
North Carolinians will have libraries with essential resources and capable staff that enable them to provide exceptional library programs and services.
Goal 2: Expanding Access
North Carolinians will have expanded access to resources for learning and success in school, work, and life.
Goal 3: Community Engagement
North Carolinians have will libraries that are more effective because they cooperate, coordinate, collaborate, and communicate to help the community address its needs.
The State Library will meet these goals through a combination of statewide programs, subawards to local libraries, and special projects managed by libraries or library organizations. LSTA funds are intended to address new or expanded library programs and services, and limited ongoing projects, that advance the field and leverage other resources to build sustainability.
The State Library is required to independently evaluate activities funded by IMLS prior to the end of the Five Year Plan and provide a report of its findings to IMLS's Director. This evaluation provides an opportunity to measure progress in meeting the goals set in our approved Five Year Plan. Our last evaluation occurred in 2022 for the approved 2018-2022 Five Year Plan.
Our LSTA activities beginning in the 2023 fiscal year will align with goals and projects as set in our new 2023-2027 Five Year Plan.
Goal 1: Community Engagement
North Carolina libraries will provide inclusive, user-focused services that enable community-wide growth and transformation.
Goal 2: Equitable Access
North Carolinians will have equitable access to information and technology needed to learn, live, govern, and work.
Goal 3: Responsive Organizations
North Carolina libraries will be places that all people find welcoming and accessible through sustainable organizational practices focused on inclusion, development, and community responsiveness.
LSTA Advisory Committee
In the late 1990’s the State Library established an LSTA Advisory Committee to provide leadership for the federal library program in North Carolina. The nine-member committee is representative of our state, and is composed of members from various types of libraries from all geographic areas in the state. The committee advises the State Librarian on plans and policies for the state’s LSTA program, annual grant programs, funding priorities, and the Five Year Plan Evaluation. The LSTA Advisory Committee is instrumental in the formation of each year’s Annual Program Plan and the Five-Year Plan.
The State Librarian appoints new members to three-year terms in July of each year. Nominations are received from the various North Carolina library communities of interest (public, community college, UNC system, and independent colleges and universities), and are reviewed then appointed by the State Librarian. The committee elects its own chair from the membership each year for a term of July 1 - June 30.
Complaints or questions about the LSTA program received by State Library of North Carolina staff will be forwarded to the Federal Programs Consultant. The Federal Programs Consultant will respond as is appropriate to the situation, either through a phone call, an email message or a formal letter.
If the person asking the question or making the complaint is not satisfied with the information provided by the Federal Programs Consultant, the question or complaint will be sent to the State Librarian. The State Librarian will respond as is appropriate to the situation, either through a phone call, an email message or a formal letter. The State Librarian is the person of last resort for questions or complaints about the state LSTA program.