Expanding Digital Inclusion: Transforming Library Services Illinois State Library


Applications are due August 15, 2021.
Requests ranging from $5,000 to $30,000 per library building or branch location will be considered, with one application accepted per agency.

Purpose and Goals

The Expanding Digital Inclusion: Transforming Library Services grant offering provides funds from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA) for emergency relief and support to libraries as library services are modified in response to and recovery from the pandemic. This offering specifically focuses on devices and technologies that circulate to meet patrons’ needs.

The goal of the Expanding Digital Inclusion: Transforming Library Services grant offering is to address the “digital divide” that was exposed during the COVID-19 pandemic. As schools quickly shifted to a remote learning model, substantial disadvantages emerged for students with limited or no reliable internet services, computers, and other learning tools. Adults experienced disruptions to their daily routines as expectations for participating in meetings or telehealth visits to communicating with family and friends went virtual. Many have had to rely on hotspots and free Wi-Fi, at times sitting in the parking lots of restaurants and other businesses so that they and their families could access the internet. And while remote learning and working may continue for the foreseeable future, many schools and communities remain ill-equipped to fully address the technology needs of these vulnerable populations.

Libraries have the opportunity to bridge this technology gap and are encouraged to reach residents with enhanced digital inclusion efforts focused on circulating internet hotspots, laptops, and other devices to help patrons recover from the pandemic. Circulating technology will not only enable patrons to connect to remote school and work, but will also ensure the continued provision of library services and access to materials and allow patrons to safely participate in virtual library activities like story hour, book clubs, and summer reading.

Allowable/Unallowable Costs

With proper justification, allowable activities and expenses that expand or enhance the library’s services or outreach in response to patrons’ needs as they recover from the pandemic may include but are not limited to:

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

Eligibility

Outcomes

This grant offering is specifically for emergency relief and support as library services are modified in response to and recovery from the pandemic.

Award Information and Funding Source

Requests ranging from $5,000 to $30,000 per library building or branch location will be considered, with one application accepted per agency.

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 expenses from October 1, 2021 through September 30, 2022. Costs incurred prior to October 1, 2021 are not eligible for reimbursement.

ARPA funds were awarded 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

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 and libraries’ efforts to support an identified target audience may be strengthened by local unemployment rates, poverty levels or 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.

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 Expanding Digital Inclusion: Transforming Library Services, 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.