American Rescue Plan 2021 - FAQ

This FAQ refers to both LSTA ARPA State Grants LS-250241-OLS-21 the Department of Libraries issued in 2021-2022:

ARPA Grants to Public Libraries for Equipment and Supply Purchases (2021)

IMLS ARPA Grants to Public Libraries for Collections and Equipment Purchases (2022)

What if I have questions?
Please check this FAQ to see if it answers your questions. If you still have questions after reviewing this FAQ, submit them via this form or email LIB.VTLibArpaGrants@vermont.gov.To ensure you get a prompt response, please don't email us directly.

What method did VTLIB use to decide how to allocate the funds?
Using allocation formulas to disburse federal and state funding is a typical method to make sure we meet the grant requirements, which in this case is reaching underserved populations. Funds will be 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.

How do I know how much my library is receiving?
You can look up your library on this funding chart Google Sheets | Excel

Why can’t VTLIB just cut checks and let libraries decide how to spend the funds?
IMLS grant recipients (ex: VTLIB) and subrecipients (ex: public libraries) are responsible for meeting IMLS grant requirements. Having subrecipients submit applications, receipts, and reports ensures this compliance.

How will my library get the funds?
The library or municipality (where applicable) will receive the funds via check or direct deposit.

When will my library receive the funds?
We hope to disburse the checks at the end of May. Please note that the timeline might change due to unforeseen circumstances.

What do I have to do to get IMLS approval for an equipment purchase of $5,000 or more?
You will submit your purchase request as part of your grant application. VTLIB will work with you to submit it to IMLS for approval.

Why can’t we use the money for construction or installation costs?
IMLS guidelines specifically disallow these costs.

Can I use this money to obtain a subscription or maintenance contract?
Subscriptions and operational costs are not permitted for this grant.

Is this a competitive grant?
The grants to public libraries are not competitive. We have funds set aside for each public library (based on the formula); however, each library must apply and be compliant with federal funding requirements.

What if I don’t meet the grant requirements?
Not able to spend the full grant amount:  Any excess funds which are not spent prior to the end of the granting period must be returned by check to VTLIB. The allowable purchase categories are broad enough where you should be able to spend all of the funds.

Not able to fulfill grant reporting requirements:  If you are unable to timely provide the required reporting (submitting paperwork, filing receipts etc.), you will be required to return the full amount of the grant and will be considered ineligible to receive future VTLIB grants until grant funds have been repaid. Please communicate with VTLIB staff via this email <LIB.VTLibArpaGrants@vermont.gov> prior to the due date if you are having issues completing any reports on time.  

What if I can’t attend the webinar due to conflict?
If you can’t make it to the scheduled webinar, you will have an opportunity to watch the webinar through Niche Academy. Niche Academy will document that you have watched the video.

Should I attend the webinar if I'm not sure my library will apply?
Yes! You should attend because there is no reason why you shouldn't apply. It's money for your library.

Do I actually have to spend all the money by the deadline or I can I just encumber it for future expenses?
The grant funds must be spent by the date specified in your grant agreement. You may not encumber these funds.

Can I use this grant to pay for past purchases?
No, it can be used only for future purchases. You can't use it to reimburse the library or municipality. You may start making purchases as soon as the grant is executed (i.e. the contract is signed).

How can I find out what other VT libraries are using their money for?
We have created a listserv dedicated to discussions about ARPA and other grants. Feel free to sign up and swap ideas there. VTLIB is not regularly monitoring this listserv. If you have specific questions for us that haven't been answered here, submit them through the form.

Do you have examples of Placemaking items?
Yes, the Delaware State Library commissioned this great guide that might give you ideas.

How much detail do you need for book purchases?
You do not need to list each title individually on your budget submission. A description of your collection purchase will suffice. For example: "Print book purchases to build new YA equity collection--$200." You will, however need itemized receipts when you report your purchases.

Do I need to get bids or quotes for expenses?
For purchases of less than $10,000 total, you do not need to compare quotes as far as the federal rules are concerned. For purchases of $10,000 or more, you must compare at least three quotes from qualified sources. (Federal rule, 2 CFR §200.320) You do not need to go through a formal RFP process. You must still adhere to any municipal procurement processes if you are a municipal library.

Will the grant pay for shipping & handling? Installation? Sales tax?
Yes to shipping & handling. No to installation of fixed equipment and sales tax.

Is there a match requirement?
No, you do not need to spend any matching funds for this grant.

How does the grant application process work?
You will submit your application and budget at the same time. You can’t save the form as a draft and return to it later. We highly recommend completing the worksheets before you start working on the form. Don't wait to the last minute.

What information will I need to complete the grant application and budget?
We have created a worksheet that provides you with a preview of the information you need and to help you gather it ahead of time.
Worksheet (Word)
Worksheet (PDF)

If I applied for the first round of IMLS ARPA funding, do I have to submit a new application? Yes, you will need to submit a new application, budget, and later, a report for this round. 

Am I eligible for this round of IMLS ARPA funding if I did not apply for the first round?

Yes, this funding is available to all public libraries regardless of whether they received the previous IMLS ARPA grant.

What is the reporting deadline for IMLS ARPA Grant to Public Libraries for Equipment and Supply Purchases (round 1)?

If you received the previous IMLS ARPA Grant to Public Libraries for Equipment and Supply Purchases, you will need to report on that by July 15, 2022. The form for that report will be announced soon.

What are the grant deadlines for round 2?
Grant application and budget submission deadline: May 11, 2022
Funds must be spent and report submitted by: September 30, 2022. Reports and receipts may be submitted before the deadline if you’ve spent your funds sooner.

Why can’t the reporting deadlines for both rounds be the same?
They are two separate grants and are processed as such. The reporting deadline for the first round remains July 15, 2022. We will post a link to the reporting form soon.

What will I need to submit a final report?
An online form (provided by VTLIB) indicating how you spent the money, detailing the impact of the improvements on your community, as well as proof of expenditures in the form of invoices, receipts, payment confirmations, etc.

What if we want to spend more than the grant award?
Go ahead! This is a great opportunity to combine grant funds with library, municipal, or private funds to purchase something even bigger and better. But be aware that your total grant award will not increase no matter how much you spend.

Do you have a press release template I can adapt for my library?
Yes, you may use this press release template (Word). Also please note IMLS acknowledgement requirements that can be found with some valuable communications tips on the attribution guidelines page.

Do I need a DUNS number?
No. The DUNS number has been replaced by the Unique Entity Identifier (UEI) number as of April 4, 2022.

What is a UEI number and do I need it to apply for this grant?

A Unique Entity Identifier (UEI) number replaced the DUNS number. If you are a municipal library, you will use your town’s UEI. If not, you will need your own UEI. SAM.gov has provided these training materials: a PowerPoint presentation for UEI and an audio recording.

We're a municipal library. Should I use my town's UEI number?
Yes since the UEI number should be for the same entity as the one listed on the W9 and EIN, and certificate of insurance, which is likely to be that of your municipality.

If I recently submitted a W9 and Certificate of Insurance, do I need to resubmit?
If you’ve submitted these documents in the last three months, you don’t need to.

Whom should the Certificate of Insurance be made out to?
It should be issued to the State of Vermont, 109 State Street, Montpelier, VT 05609-0201

Who has to do the reporting if I use my municipality's UEI number?
The library is responsible for reporting to VTLIB on the grant itself (what you purchased, what was the impact you were trying to achieve, your receipts, etc.)

The municipality is responsible for submitting the Subrecipient Annual Report (SAR) which is sent out by the Statewide Grants Administrator and lists all federal grants received in a fiscal year. The IMLS ARPA grant would be a line item in the SAR report.  The report may include multiple grant sources in one SAR if the municipality is the beneficiary of multiple grants.  Please work with your town to complete any pre-grant requirements (if any) before accepting funds.

Is it OK if we work with partner organizations?
Yes! Leveraging your existing partner network and finding new partners is a great idea. The things you purchase with ARPA funds can be loaned out by or housed at partner locations. For example, a community center could exhibit your new welcoming collection.

What do I do if I have money left over? How do I give it back to you?
Just spend it! All of it. Down to $0.00. Don't give anything back. Remember that you can always use this money to add to your collection.

Question not answered? Ask here.

Thanks to the Connecticut State Library for allowing us to use some of their FAQs.