American Rescue Plan - State Guide

American Rescue Plan Act: State Funding Guide

As promised, we wanted to provide more detailed guidance on how your library can best advocate for a portion of the state-allocated funding outlined in the American Rescue Plan Act through multiple channels. It is critical that you communicate to your local leaders and elected officials why your library needs this emergency funding in order to ensure that you receive a portion. Keep this page bookmarked, as we will be adding important additional resources as they are made available. As of November 2021, there are still ongoing opportunities for your library to receive funding through ARPA.


The $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA) provides $200 million for the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and billions more for library-eligible programs, including over $7 billion for broadband and devices. Libraries can position themselves now to seek portions of this funding through multiple channels.

Relief provisions helpful to the library community include:

➤Coronavirus Capital Projects Fund

Click to expand.

  • The Coronavirus Capital Projects Fund provides $10 billion in available funding for eligible states, territories, and tribal communities to ensure individuals’ access to high quality broadband, the implementation of broadband infrastructure improvements, and the enhancement of the overall quality of education, work, and telehealth as a direct response to the ongoing public health emergency. Funds will be allocated from the U.S. Department of the Treasury to states. States must act quickly and begin communications with their governors now. States must distribute their funding allocation by September 24, 2022. Tribal libraries can reach out to their Tribal governments; the deadline for Tribal governments to request funding is June 1, 2022.
  • For more information, check out ALA's new fact sheet: Coronavirus Capital Projects Fund: How Libraries Can Qualify.

➤Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS)

Click to expand.

  • The $200 million allocation is the largest increase for IMLS in the agency’s 25-year history. $178 million is allocated for state library administrative agencies on a population-based formula, with a $2 million state minimum. IMLS released the allocations and will work with state library agencies to specify allowable uses for the funding.

  • On May 26th IMLS announced $15 million in American Rescue Plan grants for Museum & Library Services related to pandemic response and recovery (ALA statement). These competitive grants are open to all library types, as well as Native American & Native Hawaiian communities, in addition to museums served by IMLS. Application & eligibility information can be found here (note: application deadline closed as of June 28th, 2021).

➤Emergency Connectivity Fund

Click to expand.

  • Libraries are eligible to apply for the new $7.172 billion Emergency Connectivity Fund through the FCC’s E-rate program. Participating libraries will receive 100 percent reimbursement for the cost of hotspots and other Wi-Fi capable devices, modems, routers, laptops, tablets and similar devices to loan to patrons. On April 5, 2021, ALA submitted comments to the FCC during the 60-day rulemaking process.
  • Use ALA's new toolkit to help guide your library as you apply for funding through the program - we have compiled resources for device funding, hotspot funding, & more. (note: applications are currently closed as of October 13, 2021. Stay tuned for more information!)

➤State and Local Government

Click to expand.

  • ARPA includes a massive influx – more than $360 billion – of emergency assistance to state, local and tribal community governments. This influx is intended to offset potential cuts to public health, safety, education, and library programs. For states facing less dire economic conditions, ARPA funds present an opportunity for innovative new programs and resources. Approximately 60 percent of the $360 billion will go to states, with 40 percent going to local and tribal governments.

➤Education Stabilization Fund

Click to expand.

  • Funding of $130 billion is included for education costs associated with the safe reopening of K-12 schools, hiring additional staff, reducing class size, modifying school spaces, and addressing student, academic, and mental health needs. Schools will be allowed to invest in technology and support distance learning, with at least 20 percent to be used to address learning loss. Funding will flow from the Department of Education to states based on their Title I funding—the federal government’s primary program for high-poverty schools.

➤Higher Education Fund

Click to expand.

  • Colleges and institutions of higher education will receive $40 billion to defray pandemic-related costs and provide emergency aid to students to cover expenses such as food, housing, and computer equipment. At least half of the $40 billion for higher education must be dedicated to emergency student financial aid. ARPA makes all COVID-19 student loan relief tax-free.

➤Additional Program Funding

Click to expand.

  • $135 million each for National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities will support state and regional arts and humanities agencies. 60 percent of the funds are designated for direct grants eligible to libraries and 40 percent for grants and administration for state arts and humanities agencies.
  • $39 billion for Child Care and Development Block Grants and Stabilization Fund and $1 billion for Head Start are partnership opportunities for school and public libraries.
  • $9.1 billion is available for state-level afterschool and summer programs, and $21.9 billion for programs at the local level.

It is important that you act quickly to ensure that your library can best obtain a portion of these allocated funds outlined above.

Additional Information

➤Humanities Grants for Libraries

Click to expand.

  • American Rescue Plan: Humanities Grants for Libraries is a grantmaking program to deliver relief to libraries recovering from the coronavirus pandemic. With funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) through ARPA, the American Library Association (ALA) will distribute $2 million in ARPA funding to help anchor libraries as strong humanities institutions as they emerge and rebuild from the pandemic. The purpose of this emergency relief program is to assist libraries that have been adversely affected by the pandemic and require support to restore and sustain their core activities. ALA will distribute up to 200 ARP grants of $10,000 each to libraries, with an emphasis on reaching libraries in historically underserved and/or rural communities. Libraries will be selected through a competitive, peer-reviewed application process.
  • Apply today! Applications are due December 2, 2021.

➤Resources for School Librarians

Click to expand.

These resources can help school librarians advocate for ARPA funding. Contact your state’s AASL chapter to learn more about state advocacy plans.

ALA resources:

External resources:

➤Resources for Academic Librarians

Click to expand.

The Department of Education (ED) has issued further guidance and have distributed money directly to colleges and universities (note: application deadline has closed as of September 10, 2021). Initial communications from ED indicate that the agency will remain focused on ensuring college campuses have access to guidance, technical assistance and examples of best practices to inform their efforts to get students back into classrooms and meet their academic, social and mental health needs.

Overall, ARPA builds on COVID-19 relief packages passed in 2020 by aiding institutions of higher education and its students as they navigate the final stages of the pandemic and early stages of recovery. ARPA provides $39.6 billion to colleges and universities and their students, more than what was provided in multiple relief packages in 2020. At least half of such funding must be spent on emergency financial aid grants to students to help them with college costs and basic needs like food, housing and health care. The other half is available to institutions of higher education to defray lost revenue and increased costs from declining enrollment; the transition to online learning; closures of revenue-producing services and facilities; and COVID-19 testing, vaccination, PPE and classroom retrofits.

ARPA requires institutions to use a portion of their funds to implement public health and safety best practices as well as to conduct outreach to financial aid applicants about opportunities for additional aid. The legislation also provides nearly $3 billion to historically Black colleges and universities, Tribal colleges and universities, Hispanic serving institutions and other minority serving institutions.

This is the time for academic librarians to make their needs known to campus leadership. For the state and local funding in particular, ideas that especially focus on serving the local community would have appeal. One such appealing example might be services for local high school students or incoming university students to help make up learning losses because of the pandemic. Funding for education, state and local governments, and other priorities included in ARPA will be delivered quickly, and academic libraries are encouraged to work now to assess needs and collaborate within their institutions.

Additional Links:

➤State and Local Funding Links

Click to expand.

These resources can help public librarians advocate for ARPA funding. Contact your state's ALA chapter to learn more about state advocacy plans.

ALA resources:

ALA Chapter resources:

If your chapter has created a resource to share, please let us know.

External resources:


For State Associations: