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 recently passed American Rescue Plan Act through multiple channels. It is absolutely 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 in the coming days.


Overview

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:
 

➤Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS)

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  • 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 in the coming weeks 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; the application deadline is June 28th, 2021

 

➤Emergency Connectivity Fund

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  • 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.
  • On July 15, the FCC announced the ECF program application would open on July 29 for 45 days. 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. 

 

➤State and Local Government

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  • 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

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  • 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

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  • 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

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  • $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
 

➤Resources for School Librarians

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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

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The Department of Education (ED) is expected to issue further guidance and begin distributing money directly to colleges and universities. Academic librarians should consider now where funding could support their activities. 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

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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:

 

➤More

For State Associations: