DigitalLead: Rural Libraries Creating New Possibilities

Eligible Geographic Areas

The Public Library Association (PLA) and Microsoft Corp. will increase digital skills programming and access to technology in rural communities. Through $400,000 donated by Microsoft Philanthropies, PLA will provide hardware and digital skills training and resources to select rural libraries, helping rural populations reap the benefits of broadband internet connectivity. PLA’s program will accept applications from public libraries in the states and counties below to help them to establish mobile hotspot lending programs and to initiate or expand digital skills training programs and patron access to computers.

Which Libraries are Eligible?

The call for applications is open to rural U.S. public libraries in the states and counties below.

Rural libraries are defined by Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS) locale codes as follows:

  • 41 – Rural, Fringe: Census-defined rural territory that is less than or equal to 5 miles from an Urbanized Area, as well as rural territory that is less than or equal to 2.5 miles from an Urban Cluster.
  • 42 – Rural, Distant: Census-defined rural territory that is more than 5 miles but less than or equal to 25 miles from an Urbanized Area, as well as rural territory that is more than 2.5 miles but less than or equal to 10 miles from an Urban Cluster.
  • 43 – Rural, Remote: Census-defined rural territory that is more than 25 miles from an Urbanized Area and more than 10 miles from an Urban Cluster.

Your library must be rural and located in one of the states or counties below for your application to be considered. These states and counties have been chosen for 2019 funding because of existing efforts to bring broadband connectivity to these communities and where Microsoft and PLA partners, such as 4-H, may already be doing related work.

Which Applications Will Be Given Priority?

PLA hopes to target resources where are most needed. While all applications received from rural libraries in the states and counties below will be scored and ranked for quality of the application, additional priority will be given to geographies that have been identified as substantially underserved by PLA’s analysis of community data on food scarcity, unemployment, health insurance rates, and other factors.

Priority will also be given to rural libraries which are operating individually, with 1–3 branches, and are not part of a larger library system or cooperative, which might benefit from those systems’ resources and infrastructure.

What if I Can’t Apply or Don’t Get Funded?

Libraries who are not approved for hardware packages during the 2019 application cycle will be directed to other resources (for instance, free or low cost materials from TechSoup) and encouraged to use the project education, tools and other resources that PLA is developing to achieve better community outcomes for workforce development, health, Internet access, and digital skills. Visit the main initiative page, DigitalLead: Rural Libraries Creating New Possibilities, for more information.

States and Counties

Click a state to view eligible counties*:
*not every county listed below has rural libraries based on IMLS criteria

STATE COUNTIES
California
Alpine County
Amador County
Butte County
Calaveras County
Colusa County
Contra Costa County
El Dorado County
Fresno County
Glenn County
Kern County
Kings County
Madera County
Mariposa County
Merced County
Napa County
Nevada County
Placer County
Sacramento County
San Diego County
San Joaquin County
Solano County
Stanislaus County
Sutter County
Tehama County
Tulare County
Tuolumne County
Yolo County
Yuba County
 

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Illinois
Bureau County
Henderson County
Henry County
Knox County
LaSalle County
Lee County
Livingston County
Marshall County
Mercer County
Peoria County
Putnam County
Rock Island County
Stark County
Warren County
Whiteside County
Woodford County
 

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Iowa
Scott County
 
 
 

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Maine
Androscoggin County
Aroostook County
Cumberland County
Franklin County
Hancock County
Kennebec County
Knox County
Lincoln County
Oxford County
Penobscot County
Piscataquis County
Sagadahoc County
Somerset County
Waldo County
Washington County
York County
 

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Maryland
Garrett County
 
 
 

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Michigan
Alpena County
Chippewa County
Dickinson County
Gogebic County
Iron County
Luce County
Mackinac County
Menominee County
Montmorency County
 

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Montana
Lake County
 
 
 

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New York
Allegany County
Cattaraugus County
Chautauqua County
Clinton County
Erie County
Essex County
Franklin County
Fulton County
Genesee County
Herkimer County
Jefferson County
Lewis County
Livingston County
Orleans County
Saratoga County
St. Lawrence County
Steuben County
Warren County
Washington County
Wyoming County
 

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North Dakota
Grand Forks County
 
 
 

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Ohio
Adams County
Ashland County
Athens County
Belmont County
Brown County
Butler County
Carroll County
Champaign County
Clark County
Clermont County
Clinton County
Columbiana County
Coshocton County
Crawford County
Darke County
Delaware County
Gallia County
Guernsey County
Hardin County
Harrison County
Highland County
Hocking County
Holmes County
Jackson County
Jefferson County
Knox County
Licking County
Logan County
Madison County
Marion County
Meigs County
Monroe County
Montgomery County
Morgan County
Muskingum County
Noble County
Perry County
Pickaway County
Pike County
Preble County
Richland County
Ross County
Scioto County
Seneca County
Stark County
Tuscarawas County
Union County
Vinton County
Warren County
Washington County
Wayne County
Wyandot County
 

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South Dakota
Bon Homme County
Clay County
Lincoln County
Turner County
Union County
 

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Texas
Caldwell County
 
 
 

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Vermont
Addison County
Bennington County
Caledonia County
Chittenden County
Essex County
Franklin County
Grand Isle County
Lamoille County
Orange County
Orleans County
Rutland County
Washington County
Windham County
Windsor County
 

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Virginia
Accomack County
Charlotte County
Northampton County
 
 
 

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Washington
Ferry County
Grays Harbor County
King County
Lewis County
Pierce County
Skagit County
Spokane County
Stevens County
Whatcom County
 

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West Virginia
Boone County
Braxton County
Cabell County
Calhoun County
Clay County
Fayette County
Gilmer County
Greenbrier County
Jackson County
Kanawha County
Lincoln County
Logan County
Marshall County
Mason County
McDowell County
Mingo County
Pendleton County
Pocahontas County
Putnam County
Raleigh County
Randolph County
Ritchie County
Roane County
Tucker County
Wayne County
Wood County
Writ County
Wyoming County
 

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Wisconsin
Ashland County
Chippewa County
Clark County
Dodge County
Douglas County
Eau Claire County
Florence County
Forest County
Iron County
Juneau County
Langlade County
Marathon County
Marinette County
Oconto County
Oneida County
Outagamie County
Portage County
Price County
Vernon County
Wood County
 

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