For immediate release | April 3, 2024

New ALA tools guide libraries in applying for more than $1 billion in federal Digital Equity Act funding

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The American Library Association (ALA) released the second in a series of resources to guide libraries in all contexts to apply for more than a billion dollars in federal funding through the Digital Equity Act (DEA) for digital inclusion and equity, especially in historically underserved communities.

Release of ALA’s guide, What Your Library Needs to Know: Seeking State Digital Equity Capacity Grant Funding, coincides with the recent Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) for the grants, launched at the Prince George’s County Memorial Library System in Maryland. In the coming year, states with approved digital equity plans will begin implementing them over five years through state capacity grants awarded according to a formula set by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), the federal agency responsible for administering Digital Equity Act funds.

ALA President Emily Drabinski said, “Since the Digital Equity Act was passed in 2021, ALA has advocated for libraries to have a seat at the table in their state-level planning by providing library workers with tools and guidance to make their case to state leadership. As vital community hubs that have provided direct, material digital equity support to their patrons for several decades – whether through digital skills classes, in-person or remote internet access, or a range of other resources – libraries of all types are well positioned to assist states in achieving their goals and receive funding to support and expand their digital equity work.”

“The implementation of these grants is not cut and dry,” said Drabinski. “Each state will work on different timelines and with different funding amounts. ALA’s role is helping libraries prepare for their state capacity grants. Even if each state has a different application process, there are steps all libraries can take now, from reading their state’s digital equity plan to forming partnerships with other community stakeholders. It will take collaboration and advance planning to ensure this unprecedented funding gets to the people most in need.”

After receiving capacity grants later this year, states will release plans for their own redistribution of funding at the local level and will have varying deadlines to apply. Libraries should learn about their state’s plan and engage with local broadband stakeholders to prepare eligible programming and services.

As states finalize their plans for funding and begin to develop applications and processes, ALA continues to build and gather resources and tools to help libraries take steps now to prepare applications for funding and participate in new state programs. ALA’s web page for digital equity resources for libraries contains information about the requirements for the state capacity grants, including who is eligible for subgrants (including libraries), who is among the covered populations and how funds may be used in the NOFO.

“In addition to using our resources,” said Drabinski, “all library workers are invited to join ALA’s Digital Inclusion Working Group on ALA Connect for peer sharing and discussion about digital equity as well as resources and updates from the ALA policy staff.”

ALA and other digital equity partners are also hosting several webinars to help libraries better understand the process for the Digital Equity Act:

About the American Library Association

The American Library Association (ALA) is the foremost national organization providing resources to inspire library and information professionals to transform their communities through essential programs and services. For more than 140 years, the ALA has been the trusted voice for academic, public, school, government, and special libraries, advocating for the profession and the library's role in enhancing learning and ensuring access to information for all. For more information, visit



Ian Ware

Communications Manager

American Library Association

Public Policy & Advocacy