Bouncing Back from the Pandemic: Developing Resources for the Local Workforce Illinois State Library


Applications are due August 15, 2021.
Requests ranging from $5,000 to $50,000 will be considered.

Purpose and Goals

The Bouncing Back from the Pandemic: Developing Resources for the Local Workforce offering provides funds from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA) to support libraries in providing essential resources and services to those seeking employment. Through libraries, job seekers can access employment services and training to build the necessary skills to become job ready.

Many Illinois residents lack access to broadband internet connections and do not have reliable access to computers outside of a smartphone. Libraries provide access to computers and the internet, which is a main resource for many job seekers. Nearly every public library in Illinois provides at a minimum free internet access, according to data collected from the most recent Illinois Public Library Annual Report. However, Illinois libraries only have a little over 16,000 computers available for the public and those same computers were used over 7.8 million times.

To assist libraries in providing resources to their local workforce, public library and academic library agencies may apply for $5,000 to $50,000 to expand the library’s current technology, equipment, and related materials. Libraries may also establish and design workforce recovery programming and services that will impact the intended target audience.

Allowable/Unallowable Costs

Allowable activities expand or enhance the library’s workforce resources and include but are not limited to providing:

Examples of activities and expenses that will not be funded include:

Eligibility

Outcomes

This grant offering is a specific response to the high number of jobs lost as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic that is contributing to high unemployment rates across the state. Its purpose is to position libraries to meet the needs of those workers affected.

Award Information and Funding Source

Requests ranging from $5,000 to $50,000 will be considered.

The grant award will be paid as a reimbursement. An agency is required to first appropriately disburse local funds per the approved application and then submit documentation to receive reimbursement. Release of award funds will be authorized after the submission of reports documenting proof of expenditure. The library may claim reimbursement of allowable disbursements from October 1, 2021 through September 30, 2022. Costs incurred prior to October 1, 2021 are not eligible for reimbursement.

ARPA funds were provided to the Illinois State Library from the Institute of Museum and Library Services to help libraries respond to and recover from pandemic-related losses in resources and services. Federal Government Invests $200M in Libraries and Museums to Stimulate American Communities

Application Guidelines

Application and Reporting Forms

Review Process

This is a competitive grant process. Grants are awarded by the Secretary of State/Illinois State Librarian based on recommendations received from a grant review committee following its review process.

Only complete applications from eligible library agencies will be considered for funding. Each application must stand on its own merit and will be evaluated based on the information provided in the application.

The need for grant funds is strengthened by unemployment rates, poverty levels, or workforce-related data. The following types of local data, among others, can confirm efforts to reach underserved populations:

In addition to the evaluation of the application content, meeting the criteria for library agencies eligible to apply, and the recommendations of the review committee, additional factors that may be taken into consideration include but are not limited to:

Only the awarded grant applications shall be considered public information. Working papers, individual reviewer’s comments, notes, and scores are not public information.

Timeline

Date Activity
October 1, 2021 Grant-funded activities begin
January 15, 2022 Quarterly Financial and Narrative Report due Request reimbursement of funds disbursed during the quarter
April 15, 2022 Quarterly Financial and Narrative Report due Request reimbursement of funds disbursed during the quarter
July 15, 2022 Quarterly Financial and Narrative Report due Request reimbursement of funds disbursed during the quarter
September 30, 2022 Grant-funded activities conclude All grant funds must be disbursed or obligated/encumbered
October 15, 2022 Quarterly Financial and Narrative Report due Request reimbursement of funds disbursed during the quarter
November 15, 2022 Encumbrance Report due documenting the disbursement of funds obligated at September 30. Request final payment (if applicable)

Legal Authority

Awarded applicants are required to certify adherence to applicable laws.

Use of ARPA funds and therefore all activities under this offering align with Illinois’ Long Range Plan for the Use of Library Services and Technology Act Funds 2018-2022:

Goal 1: to position the Illinois library community to extend library services for all Illinois residents by providing access to information and ideas.

Goal 2: Position the Illinois library community as an educational anchor by providing opportunities to support education, information fluency, and lifelong learning.

Projects funded should include this credit line in all grant products, publications, and websites developed:
Funding for this grant was awarded by the Illinois State Library, a Department of the Office of Secretary of State, using funds provided by the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services, under the provisions of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA).

Questions

For more information about Bouncing Back from the Pandemic: Developing Resources for the Local Workforce offering, please contact the Illinois State Library, Library Development Group by email isl_grants@ilsos.gov or by telephone 217-524-8836 or 800-665-5576 ext. 2