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American Rescue Plan 2021 (LSTA ARPA State Grant LS-250241-OLS-21)

The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA) designated $200 million in pandemic response funding for the Institute of Museum and Library Services’ (IMLS) Grants to States program. VTLIB received $2,135,819 in ARPA funding.

IMLS ARPA Funding Priorities

From the IMLS Announcement: To achieve the American Rescue Plan Act’s purposes with respect to Grants to States, this funding is to be used by September 30, 2022, in helping communities respond directly and immediately to the pandemic, as well as to related economic and community needs through equitable approaches. Spending priorities are similar to last year’s CARES Act funding and are as follows:   

  1. First, to support digital inclusion efforts to enable libraries to reach residents through internet hotspots, accessible Wi-Fi, and digital content and related resources, particularly in support of education, health, and workforce development needs. The following types of data, among others, can inform efforts to reach underserved populations:
    • Poverty/Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)   
    • Unemployment   
    • Broadband availability;   
  2. Second, to provide rapid emergency relief to libraries across the country, allowing them to safely respond to the pandemic and implement public health protocols;  
  3. Third, to support library services that meet the needs of communities throughout the U.S., including costs such as personnel, technology, training, materials, supplies, equipment, and associated indirect costs; and  
  4. With respect to (a), (b), or (c), reach tribal and museum partners best positioned to assist with pandemic response efforts, in addition to traditionally eligible library entities, where appropriate.  

ARPA funds may not fund construction, operational costs, bonuses, raises, or subscriptions.

Allocation of Funds

The Vermont Department of Libraries used a part of the ARPA funds to provide grants to VT public libraries, museum partnerships, and statewide library consortia. The remainder of the funds was used to enhance existing statewide services. Four percent went to VTLIB to cover administrative and project management costs. The disbursement happened in stages to meet staff capacity and state fiscal processes. The first grants were issued to public libraries.

1. Direct Grants to Public Libraries

In the fall of 2021, we made over $900,000 in grant funding available to public libraries to make one-time purchases. The list of allowable purchases resulted from the needs assessment survey we launched at the end of March. Please visit the Grants to Public Libraries for Equiment and Supply Purchases page for more information.

In the spring of 2022 we issued a second round of funds for the IMLS ARPA Grants to Public Libraries for Collections and Equipment Purchases. While the grant was administered like the first round, we particularly encouraged libraries to use this funding to grow their Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion and New American collections as this is a rare opportunity to update physical collections using federal funds. We expected this second round to provide approximately $300,000 to public libraries.

2. Other Disbursements

Grants to Statewide Organizations

  • Statewide consortia

  • Vermont Historical Society

Statewide Program Allocations

  • Support for courier system: purchase of bags, augmentation of existing courier grants for libraries with multiple stops

  • ABLE Library collections and technology

  • Streaming movie license continued for schools for one more year—this is a program we continued to support schools through the end of the pandemic.

  • Print and eBook/eAudiobook collection purchases

  • Air quality meters

*Subject to change

Resources for Grant Applicants

The links below were for librarians to understand what was being agreed to in the grant application and the associated certifications and assurances: