American Rescue Plan 2021 - FAQ

This is a work in progress and will be updated as questions come in.

What if I have questions?
Please check this FAQ to see if it answers your questions. We will also offer office hours to answer your questions. Hours will be published soon. If you still have questions after reviewing this FAQ, submit them via this form. 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. Refer to the information on the main ARPA 2021 page.

How do I know how much my library is receiving?
You can look up your library on this funding chart  (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?
Checks will be issued to subrecipients for the entire sum.

When will my library receive the funds?
We hope to disburse the checks in October.

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 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?
IMLS guidelines specifically disallow subscription and operational costs.

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.

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 prior to the due date if you are having issues completing any reports on time.  

What if I can’t attend the required 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. 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.

(NEW 7/15/2021) How much detail do you need for book purchases?
You do not need to list each title individually. A description of your collection purchase will suffice. For example: "Print book purchases to build new YA equity collection."

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 online grant application first. Once that is completed, you will be prompted to submit your budget, listing the things you plan to purchase. Keep in mind that both are due by the deadline, so do your application as soon as possible to get started. Don't wait to the last minute.

NEW (7/6/21): 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)

NEW (7/8/2021) What are the grant deadlines?
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.  Reporting details will be provided in the grant agreement. Reports and receipts may be submitted before the deadline if you’ve spent your funds sooner.

What if I submit the application on time, but forget to do the budget by the deadline?
Your application will be considered incomplete without a budget. You must complete both to be eligible for this grant.

What will I need to submit a final report?
A form indicating how you spent the money and the impact of the improvements on your community as well as proof of expenditures in the form of invoices, receipts, payment confirmations, etc.

NEW (7/8/2021) Why is the report due before the end of the granting period?
August 31, 2022 is the end of the granting period for all IMLS ARPA funds. The earlier submission deadline for subgrantees allows us to complete our required tasks before the deadline.

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.

NEW (6/28/21): 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 Grantee Communications Kit page.

Do I need a DUNS number?
Yes if you are an incorporated library. If your library intends to apply for any grants, please make sure to have obtained a DUNS number  – this information will be required on all grant applications per IMLS. To obtain a DUNS number, please apply through or by calling 1-844-235-0039.

We're a municipal library. Should I use my town's DUNS number?
Yes since the DUNS 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.

NEW (7/28/2021) 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

NEW (7/16/2021) Who has to do the reporting if I use my municipality's DUNS number?
The library would report to VTLIB regarding how the funds were spent per the grant, however, the municipality is responsible for reporting the grant to the State and complying with any audit if the grant pops up in a year that they are audited. The report the municipality would provide is called the Subrecipient Annual Report (SAR) which is sent out by the Statewide Grants Administrator and lists all 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.

NEW (7/22/2021) What information can I provide to my town about this grant?
We have created a document you can share with your town leaders to provide them with the details about the grant and their role.

How do I find out if we already have a DUNS number or register for a new one?
DUNS Numbers are unique identifiers issued by Dun & Bradstreet (D&B), and you can find yours online. If you don't already have one, you can request a DUNS Number for FREE from Dun & Bradstreet. This can be created within 1 business day.

When should I get my DUNS number?
You should get your DUNS number right away so you're ready when the grant opens.

Will my library receive the funds once I apply for the DUNS number?
No. You still need to apply for the grant.

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 can loan out laptops you provide them.

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.