MONTICELLO, Ark. – The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) awarded $2,660,000 in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding to the Arkansas State Library (ASL); $2.4 million of the funds were set aside for direct aid to public libraries.
This round of IMLS funding gives the country’s libraries an opportunity to improve technology access and connectivity to support the education, health, and workforce development needs in their communities. The funding is also meant to help libraries update spaces and equipment for safe operations and expand programming possibilities, with the overall goal of improving and increasing services.
The Arkansas State Library granted funds to city, county, and regional libraries for approved projects according to a formula which included a per capita base, along with additional credits for indicators of need: unemployment, poverty, rurality, and low levels of home internet connectivity.
“These funds are an unprecedented shot in the arm for Arkansas’ libraries,” said Jennifer Chilcoat, Arkansas State Librarian. “The decision to push this money out to the public libraries in our state was an easy one. Our libraries know what is needed in their own communities, and the pandemic has affected those communities in different ways. The librarians themselves are the best ones to make the decisions about how to use these funds.”
The Arkansas State Library awarded a grant to Southeast Arkansas Regional Library in the amount of $64,945.00 to support pandemic recovery efforts. At Southeast Arkansas Regional Library, the funds will go toward sanitation equipment, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), enhanced technology, and employment & career training.
The Arkansas State Library, a division of the Arkansas Department of Education, provides the resources, services, and leadership necessary to meet the educational, informational and cultural needs of the citizens of Arkansas. The Library also provides guidance and support for the development of local public libraries and library services. Visit the library online at www.library.arkansas.gov.
The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s libraries and museums. We advance, support, and empower America’s museums, libraries, and related organizations through grantmaking, research, and policy development. Our vision is a nation where museums and libraries work together to transform the lives of individuals and communities. To learn more, visit www.imls.gov and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.