News Release

Association of Tribal Archives, Libraries, and Museums

The Association of Tribal Archives, Libraries, and Museums (ATALM) and the Simmons University Community Informatics (CI) Lab have been awarded $517,078 through the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) 2021 National Leadership Grants for Libraries Program. This year, just 22.7% of applicants saw their projects get approved.

Entitled "Improving Digital Inclusion and Broadband Infrastructure in Native Communities,” the two-year project addresses needs identified in ATALM's 2014 landmark report, Digital Inclusion in Native Communities: The Role of Tribal Libraries. The first phase of the project will consist of the appointment of a National Tribal Library Broadband Council with tribal librarians and Native digital inclusion experts. It will also include national conferences and a digital inclusion needs assessment of tribal libraries which will be used to update the 2014 report. According to Susan Feller, President and CEO of ATALM, “We welcome this opportunity to leverage the expertise of the Community Informatics Lab as we work to find practical solutions to address unmet needs for improved access to technology in Native communities.”

In making the award, Crosby Kemper, Director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services, emphasized the importance of improving access to technology in Native communities. He commented, "Having recently visited Pueblo libraries in New Mexico, I can attest to the invaluable importance of this effort to help tribal libraries provide greater technology services to community members."

Colin Rhinesmith, Principal Investigator at Simmons University added, “In an effort to shift the relationship between academic institutions and Native Nations, we’ve worked to ensure that the majority of funding is headed directly to Indigenous cultural organizations, tribal libraries, and Native communities.” Towards this goal, ATALM and the CI Lab will work in partnership with five tribal libraries to design and test technology labs. The resulting Digital Inclusion How-To Guides will provide an adaptable blueprint for tribal and rural libraries across the United States.

The grant comes at a time where disparities in digital access are receiving national attention in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. For more information, visit

The Community Informatics Lab engages in digital inclusion research, practice, and policy to promote socially just and equitable communities. We work to better understand and co-design digital inclusion initiatives that promote more equitable access to information and social justice.

Association of Tribal Archives, Libraries, and Museums (ATALM) - The Association of Tribal Archives, Libraries, and Museums (ATALM) is an international association dedicated to preserving and advancing the language, history, culture, and lifeways of Indigenous peoples. Founded in 2010, ATALM maintains a network of support for Indigenous cultural programs, provides professional development training, enables collaboration among tribal and non-tribal cultural institutions, and advocates for programs and funding to sustain the cultural sovereignty of Native Nations. To learn more, visit

Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) - The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation's libraries and museums. It advances, supports, and empowers America’s museums, libraries, and related organizations through grantmaking, research, and policy development. Its vision is a nation where museums and libraries work together to transform the lives of individuals and communities. To learn more, visit IMLS Homepage and follow IMLS on Facebook and Twitter.

Additional project and financial support is provided by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the Native Nations Institute at the University of Arizona.

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