American Rescue Plan Act graphic with State Library logo and partial view of a semi-transparent American flag
April 29, 2021

The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) of 2021 designates $200 million in pandemic response funding for the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). The $200 million investment will provide critical funding to State Library Administrative Agencies (SLAAs), located in every U.S. state and territory, with reach into local communities across the country. In Ohio, the State Library of Ohio will receive $4,547,789 in one-time federal ARPA funds through the IMLS Grants to States program. Once disbursed, the funds will need to be utilized  by June 30, 2022.

The State Library of Ohio will use the majority of ARPA funds to provide substantial support to statewide and regional programs directly impacted by the pandemic, including resource sharing and e-content usage. To best leverage these funds, the State Library will announce opportunities for competitive grants in May. The State Library is investing a significant amount of thought, creativity, and preparation to develop an equitable plan to reach academic, public, school, and special libraries.  Libraries of all types adapted to the changing needs of their communities throughout the past year, and each type of library faced different challenges with a common thread of bridging the digital divide.

“Libraries are acutely aware of the digital divide and have been striving to increase digital inclusion since the 1990s,” expressed State Librarian Wendy Knapp.  “COVID brought this issue to the forefront of every industry, and IMLS recognizes that the ARPA funds can leverage the work being done in libraries for these past decades.”

“The coronavirus pandemic persists in taking its harsh toll on communities. This infusion of support for America’s vital community institutions is crucial,” said IMLS Director Crosby Kemper. “The need for access to information for health, job, educational, and unemployment resources continues across the country, especially in communities that were already vulnerable.”

Considerations include:

  • Every ARPA dollar spent must be accounted for and reported to IMLS by the State Library.
  • Funds may only be spent according to the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA); this creates programmatic limitations on how the money can be used.
  • ARPA funds cannot be used for land, construction, expansion, or many types of renovation, nor can they be used for advocacy or lobbying.
  • ARPA funds are one-time-only funds and cannot be used to supplant reduced operating costs.
  • Since any potential sub-grants use federal funds, each library must complete various forms, including Assurances and Certifications and CIPA Internet Safety compliance.
  • All federally-required forms must be signed and submitted before ARPA funds may be disbursed.

“While the State Library intends to maximize spending flexibility, it must do so while adhering to the overall spirit and priorities of the legislation,” continued Knapp.  “ARPA is ultimately meant to address problems brought about or exacerbated by the pandemic.”

Join the ARPA-OH announcement list to receive news and information about American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) library initiatives and programs in Ohio supported through the Institute of Museum and Library Services and administered by the State Library of Ohio.

Questions may be directed to Wendy Knapp, Evan T. Struble, or Marsha McDevitt-Stredney.

Media Contact:

Marsha McDevitt-Stredney, Public Information Officer and Director, Marketing & Communications (614) 644-6875