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