Grant Handbook:  The Tennessee Public Library Grant Handbook has been created to assist public libraries in managing their grants.  It includes information on contracts, changes, reimbursement procedures and other elements of the grant process.

Grant Handbook

The Tennessee State Library and Archives is pleased to provide a grant opportunity to public libraries across Tennessee using the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds.  This $2,500,000 grant is made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

The ARPA Grant is available for public libraries, and you are welcome to apply for any or all these categories:

  1. Technology equipment
    1. This would look very similar to our traditional technology grants and provide funding for hardware, software, networking equipment, peripherals, and other technology items. 
    2. Individual items requested may not exceed $5,000.
  2. Website design
    1. This category would provide funding for libraries to hire for the purpose of creating or redesigning their website and would also include hosting fees.
    2. May include website hosting fees during the grant period
  3. Digital materials – e-books, e-audio, Playaway devices, etc.
  4. Library materials - print and physical audio/video
  5. Library Furniture and Equipment
    1. This would provide for furniture and equipment to improve social distancing for patrons and staff, for ADA accommodations, or to provide private workstations for patrons to access telehealth and workforce development services.

The local match has been reduced for this grant, and a match is required for every category. Match requirements are according to population served and those populations will be taken from the OSAP from 2019/2020 as that is the last one that has been approved and signed:

            Up to 9,999                     5% local match, maximum request $20,000.00

            10,000 to 49,000           10% local match, maximum request $25,000.00

            49,001 to 100,000         20% local match, maximum request $30,000.00

            100,001 to 200,000       20% local match, maximum request $40,000.00

            200,001 and up             20% local match, maximum request $50,000.00

Please Note: Requests may exceed the maximum but will be considered a lower priority.

The grant contract will begin on July 1, 2021 and end on June 30, 2022, which will allow you to use grant funds for purchases from July 1st forward, even though a fully signed contract will not be in place until later if your financial processes allow for that.  Please be aware however, no grant payments will be processed until the contract is in place.

Applications can be sent via e-mail, fax, or mail We do not require original signatures to be submitted. Application submittal information can be found on page 16 of the application.

The deadline for applications was Thursday, August 12, 2021.

ARPA Grant Application Fillable Form

ARPA Grant Application

Technology Opportunities for the Public Grants​: The 2021 TOP Grant is provided through funding from the Department of Economic and Community Development.  This grant is available to public libraries for digital literacy training, circulating wi-fi hotspots, and video recording and editing hardware and software. 

The 2021 application will be released soon.

TOP Grant Application

Construction Grants​:  Secretary of State Tre Hargett promotes the advancement of public library services in Tennessee in many ways. Among them is providing funds for public library construction. These funds are available via a competitive grant process, and can be used for new construction, additions and extensive renovations.

Construction Grant Application

Technology Grants:  These grants are open to any public library in Tennessee for the purchase of technology for use in the library.  This is a 50/50 matching grant, which means that for every grant dollar received, a matching local dollar is required.  This is a reimbursement grant, so as the grantee receives applicable invoices for purchases made, the State will reimburse half of each until the grant award has been met.

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Applications will be rated based on need and the applicant’s ability to meet or exceed the following terms and conditions:

  • Are a recognized public library by TSLA;
  • Are currently in compliance with Children’s Internet Protection Act;
  • Follow the grant application procedures and meet grant application deadlines;
  • Demonstrate a clear ability and designated personnel to administer the grant responsibly;
  • Present realistic cost/funding estimates under $20,000.00 for the grant objective;
  • Offer well-focused, specific project proposals that identify specific objects or supplies to be procured, that concentrate on promoting technology in the public library for the staff and the public.

Federal Funding:  Federal funding for libraries is made possible through the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) as administered through the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Through LSTA legislation, all fifty State Library Agencies, the District of Columbia, and U. S. territories, receive annual appropriations using a population-based formula. The statutory language of LSTA stipulates that the State Library Agency shall expend the funds for:

  • expanding services for learning and access to information and educational resources in a variety of formats, in all types of libraries, for individuals of all ages;
  • developing library services that provide all users access to information through local, state, regional, national, and international electronic networks;
  • providing electronic and other linkages among and between all types of libraries;
  • developing public and private partnerships with other agencies and community-based organizations;
  • targeting library services to individuals of diverse geographic, cultural, and socioeconomic backgrounds, to individuals with disabilities, and to individuals with limited functional literacy or information skills; and
  • targeting library and information services to persons having difficulty using a library and to underserved urban and rural communities, including children (from birth through age 17) from families with incomes below the poverty level.  

The Tennessee State Library and Archives uses its annual LSTA appropriation to support statewide library initiatives which benefit all types of libraries, such as the Tennessee Electronic Library and SHAREit, a statewide library catalog which promotes resource sharing. Federal funds also support the development of technology infrastructure in public libraries through grants for hardware and software and through ongoing technology assistance to small and medium-sized public libraries. In addition, federal funds are used to supplement public library services to the disadvantaged, e.g. job training centers in libraries, family literacy initiatives, and outreach to senior citizens, and to supplement the ongoing services of the Library for Accessible Books and Media.

Contact Jennifer Cowan-Henderson for additional information.