Role of Museums and Libraries

Museums, libraries, science centers, and other cultural organizations are uniquely suited to educate local communities across the United States about COVID-19 vaccines. They have built deep ties within their communities over decades of sustained engagement and have rightly earned strong reputations as trusted sources of information. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, these institutions have continued to play a vital role in their communities by providing food, childcare, and other essential services, as well as continuing to engage diverse audiences with educational opportunities virtually.

Museums and libraries are already sharing valuable information about COVID-19 vaccination with their communities by:

  • helping to translate science in ways that are accessible to the public
  • developing programs and exhibits explaining why vaccines are so important to fighting the spread of the COVID-19 virus and other diseases
  • helping to address misinformation around the virus and the vaccines
  • serving as vaccination sites
  • offering their buildings to support community public health efforts
With deep knowledge of the specific needs of their communities, museums and libraries are critical grassroots partners in building vaccine confidence and defeating COVID-19. With national support, these individual efforts can be expanded and replicated to effectively engage people across the country, creating a robust network to halt the pandemic.

Communities for Immunity is providing funding opportunities for museums, libraries, and other cultural organizations to develop and deploy resources, programs, and other efforts to effectively engage vaccine hesitant members of their communities―and to reach new populations, especially as vaccines are approved for use with younger children. With support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Institute of Museum and Library Services, Communities for Immunity will amplify and expand the most effective community-based approaches to building vaccine confidence.


Museum Facts

  • The American public considers museums the most trustworthy source of information in America, rated higher than local papers, nonprofit researchers, the U.S. government, and academic researchers.
  • More people visit an art museum, science center, historic house or site, zoo, or aquarium each year than attended a professional sporting event.
  • Museums receive millions of online visits to their websites each year.
  • Museums receive approximately 55 million visits each year from students in school groups.
  • Museums are committed to ensuring that people of all backgrounds have access to high-quality experiences in their institutions. For example, since 2014, more than 500 museums nationwide have facilitated more than 2.5 million museum visits for low-income Americans through the Museums for All program.
  • Museums support more than 726,000 American jobs.
  • Support for museums is robust regardless of political persuasion. The number is consistently high for respondents who consider themselves politically liberal (97%), moderate (95%), or conservative (93%).
  • Museums contribute $50 billion to the U.S. economy every year.
  • Museums and other nonprofit cultural organizations return more than $5 in tax revenues for every $1 they receive in funding from all levels of government.
See more museum facts from the American Alliance of Museums.

Library Facts

  • Libraries are highly trusted institutions with more than three in four U.S. adults saying that public libraries help them find information that is trustworthy and reliable.
  • 76.8% of libraries provide online health resources and 60% offer programs to help Americans identify health insurance resources and get better informed on health topics.
  • 95% of libraries provide online homework assistance, and 95% offer summer reading programs for children.
  • There are more than 16,000 public libraries and branches in the United States, more than Starbucks locations.
  • There were more than 113 million attendees at public library programs in 2016, more than Major League Baseball, National Football League, and National Basketball Association games combined.
  • Nearly all public libraries provide free WiFi and no-fee access to computers.
  • Academic libraries have almost 2.6 billion physical and electronic items in their collections available for use.
  • Research shows the highest achieving students attend schools with well-staffed and well-funded school libraries.
  • Students in high-poverty schools are almost twice as likely to graduate when the school library is staffed with a certified school librarian.
  • Librarians have long championed their community members’ right to access information privately, and serve as an essential refuge where everyone can check out materials or browse the internet without their information being shared.
See more library facts from the American Library Association.