Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA)
The Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) is the only federal program exclusively for libraries. It is administered by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). State libraries use the funds to support statewide initiatives and also distribute the funds through subgrants or cooperative agreements to public, school, academic, research, and special libraries. There is a requirement for a state match, which helps stimulate approximately three to four dollars for every federal dollar invested.
LSTA consolidates federal library programs, while expanding services for learning and access to information resources in all types of libraries for individuals of all ages. LSTA links libraries electronically and helps provide users access to information through state, regional, national, and international networks. In many states, the state library network provides enriched content databases for information access to all in the state.
Around the country, knowledgeable librarians use LSTA funding to help patrons access essential information on a wide range of topics. They offer training on résumé development; help on web searches of job banks; workshops on career information; links to essential educational and community services; assistive devices for people with disabilities; family literacy classes; homework help and mentoring programs; information on religions and other cultures; access to government information; a forum for enhanced civic engagement; and so much more.
For example, the Connecticut State Library uses LSTA funds to provide all state residents with online access to essential library and information resources, including licensed databases, a statewide library catalog and interlibrary loan system, and the electronic and physical delivery of resources. Specialized research information is made available to students and faculty. Recent activity has promoted awareness of all Digital Library Services and their use is increasing dramatically. The Digital Library has saved over $20 million for Connecticut taxpayers.
Every fiscal year, Congress provides funding for LSTA in the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill. Federal resources help target library services to people of diverse geographic, cultural, and socioeconomic backgrounds, to individuals with disabilities, and to people with limited literacy skills.
For the most recent LSTA news, please vist the ALA Washington Office's blog, District Dispatch.