$15 Million in American Rescue Plan Act Grants Now Available for Museum and Library Services

The Institute of Museum and Library Services today announced a new funding opportunity for museums, libraries, and Native American and Native Hawaiian communities. The $15 million federal investment will provide direct support to address community needs created or exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and in assisting with recovery.

“Museums and libraries have stepped up to provide their communities with essential services and access to all kinds of health, job, government, educational, social, and cultural resources,” said IMLS Director Crosby Kemper. “As places begin to reopen, these institutions will continue to be trusted spaces dedicated to sustaining communities. This funding will allow them to continue lifting up their communities and enabling them to thrive.”

The American Rescue Plan Act allocated funding to IMLS to enable libraries, museums, federally recognized tribes, and nonprofit organizations serving Native Hawaiians by supporting the vital programs and services they provide to their communities.

Proposals to this grant program may continue, enhance, or expand existing programs and services, or they may launch new ones to address emergent needs and unexpected hardships. Reflecting IMLS’s goals of championing lifelong learning, strengthening community engagement, and advancing collections stewardship and access, successful projects for this grant program will:

·       Advance digital inclusion through approaches that may include, but are not limited to, improving digital platforms, online services, connectivity (e.g., hotspots), and creating digital literacy programs, as well as creating new processes and procedures needed to sustain a robust online environment.

·       Support hiring new staff and training or retraining existing staff to ensure a workforce that has the appropriate knowledge, skills, and abilities.

·       Build community-focused partnerships, networks, and alliances with organizations with an emphasis on complementing, rather than duplicating, resources and services.

·       Support the creation and delivery of online and in-person educational, interpretive, and experiential programs and exhibitions for learners of all ages.

·       Provide trusted spaces for community engagement and dialogue to foster recovery and rebuilding.

·       Support efforts to collect, preserve, manage, and interpret documentary sources and tangible objects representing all aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic experience.

The deadline for submitting applications is June 28, 2021, with award announcements anticipated in October 2021. A free informational webinar will be made available on-demand on the IMLS website.

For More Information
To apply for this grant, as well as other available IMLS funding opportunities, please visit the IMLS website.

COVID Safety Updates

In case you missed it last week, here are the handouts and the recording of Stephanie Adam’s (Ask the Lawyer) session on the new Covid guidelines. 

I’m also passing along a link to another recording from Bond, Shoeneck & King LLC regarding the new Covid updates.  I found this session extremely helpful.

While legal professionals in both recordings admit that details are a bit foggy and the guidance can change tomorrow, I believe there was some good takeaways from both sessions.  Here are the main points I found helpful:

  • Safety plans needs to be a modified to reflect current decision-making from the administration and board 
  • Any new protocol or safety measures your library adopts must point back to the safety plan
  • All other screening mandates are still in place (staff questionnaire, etc.)
  • If you are implementing a mandatory vaccination policy for employees, you must provide certain exemptions
  • Employee vaccine records are confidential health records and must be treated as such 
  • There is no legal law or mandate requiring organizations to require proof of vaccination
  • There is no legal law or mandate restricting organizations from requiring proof of vaccination
  • Just because an organization can legally require proof of vaccination doesn’t necessarily mean it should (there are privacy and ADA implications that could arise – especially when staff are not properly trained in ADA)

Please take the time to view the sessions that were provided, especially the BS&K one that I included.  There are other details that they talk about that I think you will find helpful.