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ARPA Grants to Public Libraries for Equipment and Supply Purchases

Press Release about ARPA Grants

We will make up to $980,587.07 in grant funding available to public libraries to make one-time purchases (pending IMLS approval*). This list reflects the results of the needs assessment survey we launched at the end of March. The grant will allow libraries to purchase:

  • Outdoor programming/placemaking items, such as canopies and tents, white boards, dividers, sound systems, etc. Outdoor furniture is allowable if it is used to advance or keep operational library services like summer programming or access to library wi-fi. 
  • Indoor furniture for COVID response, such as dividers, un-upholstered furniture, mobile charging stations, smaller tables for separation, sneeze guards, lockers, etc., or furniture with embedded digital/electrical components, or tables, chairs, shelves with built-in chargers or outlets.
  • Standalone HVAC augmentation, e.g. air filters, purifiers, etc. that don’t require construction.
  • Computers for patrons e.g. lendable tablets and laptops, kid specific desktops, etc, including initial, one-time tech setup costs. We don’t recommend lendable WiFi hotspots unless the library can pay for any subscription costs upfront.
  • Non-construction WiFi and network upgrades.
  • Robotics for kids’ programming (Ozobots, Sphero, Osmo, SnapCircuits, Raspberry Pi). Your library is responsible for maintaining any subscription fees and add on components in the future.
  • Makerspace equipment and content.
  • Video production equipment, such as green screens, cameras, video and audio equipment, tripods, portable recording studios, etc.
  • Staff technology, such as computers, electronic office equipment such as printers, scanners, 3D printers, document cameras, self-checkout systems, single-purchase software, security cameras that comply with 2 CFR 200.216, Owl cameras and other webinar technology, one-time tech setup costs.
  • One-time collection purchases – print and electronic. Subscriptions are not permitted.
  • Book bike
  • Accessibility upgrades (no construction allowed).
  • Dedicated space for social worker/employment specialist/telemedicine etc.(could purchase cubical type of walls, desks, chairs, computers--no construction of permanent walls). Library is responsible for personnel costs.
  • Library purchases of PPE  (VTLIB will not make bulk purchases of PPE).

You may want to consider the Massachusetts Higher Education Consortium (MHEC) purchasing program for your purchases.

Construction costs are not allowed. This VTLIB grant is for equipment/supply purchases only and will not pay for personnel.

*Per 2 CFR § 200.439 - Equipment and other capital expenditures, all equipment purchases of $5,000/unit or more must be approved by IMLS via VTLIB ahead of time.

Allocation to Public Libraries

Review chart of funding by library here - Google Sheets | Excel

Funds were allocated based on a formula that includes a base dollar amount per person served, poverty and unemployment factors in the library’s service area, and broadband availability. The base allocation starts at $2,000 for every library.

Note that VTLIB will not do bulk purchases for libraries.

VTLIB, State, IMLS and Federal Compliance Requirements

Note that in order for a public library to receive these funds, the library must

  • have a DUNS number (you should get this right away-don't wait);
  • attend a grant webinar, or watch a recording;
  • submit an application and your budget;
  • sign a grant agreement with VTLIB;
  • acknowledge funding from VTLIB and IMLS in any communications about your award, per these guidelines from IMLS; and
  • provide required final report (including receipts) detailing how the funds were spent.

We recommend that you send a press release to your local media outlets to share the news of your grant one you have a plan on what you will be doing with the money. You may use this press release template (Word). Also, please promote this through your social channels.

Whenever possible, follow the guidance in §200.321 Contracting with small and minority businesses, women's business enterprises, and labor surplus area firms and §200.322   Domestic preferences for procurements.

Additional IMLS 2021 Guidance for grantees and subrecipients.

If your library intends to apply for any grants, please make sure to have obtained a DUNS number or a registration – this information will be required on all grant applications per IMLS. To obtain a DUNS number, please apply through or calling 1-844-235-0039. Note that a registration will be required by IMLS beginning on April 1, 2022.

Libraries and their municipalities (where applicable) must also be in good standing with subrecipient state and federal annual reporting and all state single audit requests. Grantee should also be found to be in a low or moderate risk assessment (page 13) and be in compliance with all previous grant requirements.


The application deadline of August 9, 2021 has passed. We are no longer accepting applications.

Timeline and Reporting

The application and budget must be completed by August 9, 2021 to be considered. The granting period will be October 1, 2021 through August 31, 2022. The funds must be spent and the report and receipts submitted to VTLIB no later than July 15, 2022.  The Report Form is now open and available here: Reports and receipts may be submitted before the deadline if you’ve spent your funds sooner.

You may want to review the reporting webinar if you need pointers.

The projected funds disbursal is October, 2021. Note that the timing may change depending on factors outside of our control.

We highly recommend that you start making your plans on what you will be purchasing as soon as possible, so you can be ready to submit a budget when it's due. Use this worksheet to gather all needed information:
Worksheet (Word)
Worksheet (PDF)

Grant Webinars, Office Hours, and Ideas Exchange

If you were unable to attend the required webinar, you can watch the recording on Niche Academy to fulfill this requirement.

You can also watch the video below, but this will not be tracked and doesn't fulfill the requirement:


Virtual office hours are voluntary and available to answer your specific questions.

  • July 16, 2021, 2:00 - 3:00pm
  • July 21, 2021, 11:00 am - 12:00pm
  • July 28, 2021, 2:00 - 3:00pm
  • August 5, 2021, 10 - 11am
  • August 6, 2021 1:30 - 2:30pm

Join on your computer or mobile app
Click here to join the meeting
Or call in (audio only)
+1 802-828-7667,,164706347#   United States, Montpelier
Phone Conference ID: 164 706 347#

We also invite you to sign up for a listserv dedicated to discussions about ARPA and other grants. Feel free to sign up and swap ideas there. Please don't assume that your specific questions to VTLIB will be answered on this listserv since we won't be actively monitoring it. Use the FAQ and question form instead.


Please review this page again and consult our Frequently Asked Question page before contacting us. If the Q&A doesn't answer your question, submit the question form (linked on the FAQ). We will use any form submissions to add to the FAQ. Please don't email VTLIB staff directly.