Press Release: Vermont Department of Libraries Awarded Over $2M in American Rescue Plan Act Funding by the Institute of Museum and Library Services

For Immediate Release
7/23/2021

Contact
Janette Shaffer, Assistant State Librarian for Library Advancement
802-249-7889, janette.shaffer@vermont.gov

 

Vermont Department of Libraries Awarded Over $2M in American Rescue Plan Act Funding by the Institute of Museum and Library Services

Barre, Vt.—The Vermont Department of Libraries was awarded $2,135,819 in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to help Vermont communities respond directly and immediately to the pandemic and related economic and community needs.

IMLS continues to prioritize digital inclusion and emergency pandemic response, much as it did when it issued CARES Act 2020 funding. The Vermont Department of Libraries received nearly $60,000 in CARES funding that it used to expand statewide access to resources and for bulk Personal Protective Equipment purchases that were distributed to Vermont public and academic libraries.

This round of IMLS funding gives the country’s libraries an opportunity to improve technology access and connectivity to support the education, health, and workforce development needs in their communities. The funding is also meant to help libraries update spaces and equipment for safe operations and expand programming possibilities, with the overall goal of improving and increasing services.

With an initial grant period opening in early July, the Department of Libraries is leading the way to get federal funds out to Vermont public libraries as quickly as possible. The Department will make nearly $1 million of this ARPA funding available to all 185 public libraries in Vermont as “ARPA Grants to Public Libraries for Equipment and Supply Purchases.” These funds will go directly to public libraries to respond to needs resulting from the pandemic. The Department is granting funds based on a formula that uses poverty rates, access to broadband, and unemployment data to determine allocation amounts. This approach allows limited funds to be leveraged to their best advantage by targeting communities most affected by COVID-19.

"Libraries are vital to community and workforce development. In the past 18 months, our public libraries responded to the pandemic by connecting Vermonters to rent assistance and unemployment, COVID mitigation, and mental and physical health resources. Vermont's libraries remain an important part of this effort," said Secretary of the Agency of Administration Susanne Young. "This grant will strengthen their ability to continue to support the state's pandemic recovery and will keep them at the center of civic life."

“During the pandemic, the state’s public libraries proved, once again, to be an invaluable resource. Library staff met this crisis with ingenuity, recognizing the importance of reliable access, and doing everything possible to provide it,” said State Librarian Jason Broughton. “The level of IMLS ARPA funding the Vermont Department of Libraries is able to pass onto public libraries is unprecedented and will position every one of them, no matter how large or small, to meet new post-pandemic challenges with continued creativity.”

Remaining IMLS ARPA funds will be disbursed as grants to Vermont library consortia or library/museum collaborations, and to support statewide and K-12 resources and programming.

About the Vermont Department of Libraries

The Vermont Department of Libraries—housed within the Vermont Agency of Administration—supports Vermont libraries as they work to ensure access to quality information for their patrons. To learn more, visit libraries.vermont.gov and follow us on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram. ARPA Grant to Public Libraries for Equipment and Supply Purchases

About IMLS

The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation's approximately 120,000 libraries and 35,000 museums and related organizations. The agency’s mission is to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement. Its grant making, policy development, and research help libraries and museums deliver valuable services that make it possible for communities and individuals to thrive. To learn more, visit http://www.imls.gov and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.