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Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act

The Office of Commonwealth Libraries (OCL) received a CARES Act Grant Award in the amount of $1,156,768 from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).  Under provisions of the CARES Act (Public Law 116-136), this grant is intended to prevent, prepare for, and respond to COVID-19, and to expand digital access and technical support.  

To achieve the grant purposes outlined by IMLS, OCL developed a formula that allocates funds to each District Library Center (DLC). The formula sets aside $800,000 for distribution on a per capita basis to each District with $200,000 to be apportioned based on economic distress factors.  

Each District is expected to work with the libraries in their service area to develop a plan to cover costs associated with the following:

  • Equipment and services intended to expand digital inclusion by providing internet accessible devices, increased or improved wi-fi access, and technical support services; and
  • Providing a safe library environment including the purchase of personal protective equipment (PPE), facilities cleaning supplies and services. 

The plan must clearly demonstrate an emphasis on high-need, economically distressed communities.  Funds will be available on a reimbursement basis and may be used to cover costs incurred from April 21, 2020 through September 1, 2021.