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2020 Keystone ​Letter of Interest


The Pennsylvania Department of Education’s (PDE) Office of Commonwealth Libraries will be accepting applications from eligible applicants for grants to improve the physical facilities of state-aided public libraries.

Funding may be requested for grants up to $750,000. There is no minimum amount. Grant amounts may not exceed 50 percent of the total project cost. Grants will be awarded on a competitive basis, guided by grant award criteria, funding priorities, and the applicant’s needs assessment. Grant payments will be made on a reimbursement basis.

Grant Timeline

  • Letter of Interest Deadline: Postmarked on or before December 20, 2019
  • Application Deadline: Postmarked on or before April 10, 2020
  • Grant Performance Period: October 1, 2020 - March 31, 2022.
  • Projects must be completed within 18 months of the grant start date.

Keystone General Guidelines

State grants for library facilities are available through the Keystone Recreation, Park and Conservation Fund and are administered by PDE. Please review the General Guidelines posted on the Keystone page of the State Library website for an overview of the Keystone application and award requirements.

Eligible Applicants

Joint grant applications are required. The sponsoring municipality and the board of the state-aided public library must submit five (5) copies—one labeled Original containing original signatures plus four (4) copies— of the application developed cooperatively by both entities and signed by their governing bodies.

Sponsoring Municipality

Keystone Grant applications will be accepted from municipalities, defined as: “Any county, city, borough, incorporated town, township, home rule municipality or any official agency created by the fore-going units of government under the laws of this Commonwealth (22 Pa Code §142.1).” PDE will accept applications from Councils of Governments (COG) and authorities. However, an application from a COG or an authority must be approved by the participating local
governing bodies of the COG or authority.

Libraries that are organized as authorities must have one of the participating local governing bodies of the authority act as the sponsoring municipality and applicant. To be eligible to apply for a Keystone Grant, a municipality must sponsor a public library. The municipality, alone or in cooperation with other municipalities, must make appropriations out of
current revenue or out of monies raised by the levy of special taxes to establish and/or maintain a public library. The municipality may directly provide the service by including the public library within the municipal government structure or may delegate responsibility for public library service to a board of directors or to a nonprofit corporation.

Sponsoring School District

Some Pennsylvania public libraries are supported by school districts. The Keystone Recreation, Park and Conservation Act does not permit school districts to apply directly for grants. When a state-aided public library is sponsored by a school district, a municipality that is located (in whole or in part) in that school district may apply for a grant on behalf of that school district for that public library. The application should be signed by governing bodies of both the school district and the municipality.

Letter of Interest Procedure

The first requirement of the application process is the submission of a Letter of Interest. The Letter of Interest form (PDF) must be completed and sent to the address indicated on the form. The letter must be postmarked on or before December 20, 2019.

  • The Letter of Interest is non-binding. The municipality is under no obligation to submit an application.
  • PDE will acknowledge receipt of the Letter of Interest form and may seek clarification on the nature of the project to be funded.
  • It is understood that the exact scope and cost of the project being considered may not yet be determined. Please complete the Letter of Interest form (PDF) using the best data and estimates available to you at the time of submission.
  • Submission of an application does not imply that the project will be funded.
  • Questions may be directed to