The Arkansas State Library has been awarded $2,660,000 in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS); $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.
Funds were granted to city, county and regional libraries for approved projects in accordance with 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."
Siloam Springs Public Library was awarded a grant in the amount of $19,234 to support pandemic recovery efforts. At Siloam Springs Public Library, the funds will go towards information access and enhanced technology.
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 state 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. To learn more, visit www.imls.gov and follow IMLS on Facebook and Twitter.