American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA)

May 26, 2021

The Arkansas State Library received $2,660,308 as part of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). The ARPA funds will be disbursed to the Arkansas State Library through the Institute of Museum and Library Services’ (IMLS) Grants to States program.

To ensure the most prompt reply, Arkansas public library directors may send ARPA-related questions and concerns to

Grant Application, Forms & Guidelines

All application windows and final deadlines are reflected in the timeline, application instructions and grant manual.

Instructions & Information

Mandatory Forms

Completed forms submitted via email (preferred) to Manager of Grants and Special Projects Debbie Hall, or via USPS.

Additional Forms

Completed forms submitted via online form.

Return to Top


The timeline may be subject to change. Check back often for the most current information. Major final deadlines shown in red.

A timeline for spending grant funds is also available.

May 2021
5/17/21 — 5/21/21Manual, Application, Guidelines, Letter of Agreement, & W-9 distributed
5/24/21Zoom Session: Application Information from 2 pm to 3:30 pm
5/25/21Zoom Session: Application Information from 10 am to 11:30 am
5/26/21Zoom Session: Application Information from 2 pm to 3:30 pm
5/27/21Zoom Session: Application Information from 10 am to 11:30 am
June 2021
6/2/21Zoom Session: Application Information from 2 pm to 3:30 pm
6/9/21Zoom Session: Application Information from 10 am to 11:30 am
6/15/21Application, Letter of Agreement, & W-9 due
July 2021
7/1/21Delayed Application due to ensure mailing of first grant installment in August 2021
7/5/21 — 7/9/21Official Award Notification, Progress and Final Reports sent
7/15/21 — 7/20/21First Grant Installment warrants mailed
August 2021
8/2/21 — 8/6/21First grant installment mailed for Delayed Applications received by July deadline
8/1/21Delayed Application due to ensure mailing of first grant installment in September 2021
September 2021
9/1/21 — 9/6/21First grant installment mailed for Delayed Applications received by August deadline
9/1/21Final deadline for Delayed Applications
October 2021
10/1/21 — 10/8/21First grant installment mailed for Delayed Applications received by final September deadline
10/15/21First Progress Report due
January 2022
1/15/22Second Progress Report due
April 2022
4/15/22Third Progress Report due
June 2022
6/30/22Grant period ends (all funds must be expended)
July 2022
7/15/22Fourth Progress Report due
September 2022
9/30/22Final Report due

Return to Top

Informational Sessions via Zoom

ARPA Sub-Grant Application Instructions

The Arkansas State Library is hosting virtual meetings to provide an overview of the ARPA manual, application process, reporting requirements, and grants management. Each session is scheduled for an hour and a half. Each meeting will cover the same content, so there’s no need to attend more than one.

Please note, attendance is limited to Arkansas public library directors and their designated ARPA Project Managers.

Library directors and ARPA Project Managers are strongly urged to attend one of these sessions to learn more about the grants process.

Meeting Dates & Times

ARPA Technology Assessment and Buyers Guide with Carson Block

The Arkansas State Library will host a virtual session presented by Carson Block for public library directors, IT directors, and library staff interested in learning more about technology assessment and best practices when purchasing technology.

Technology buying guides will focus on items eligible for purchase using ARPA funds distributed by the Arkansas State Library.

The session will take place Tuesday, June 8, 2021, from 3:30 to 4:30 pm. Participants must register online to participate; the registration deadline is Tuesday, June 8, 2021 by 10 am.

Return to Top

Distribution of ARPA Funds

The Arkansas State Library will use the great majority of ARPA funds to provide sub-grants to public libraries. The State Library has developed an American Rescue Plan Act Grant Manual to guide Arkansas public libraries through the sub-grant process and provide information about ARPA spending restrictions.

External Factors that Impact Grant Disbursement

The State Library is not able to distribute ARPA funds in the same manner as State Aid. As such, the State Library used federal guidelines to develop a fair plan of distribution that maximized spending flexibility while adhering to the overall spirit and priorities of the legislation.

Factors taken into consideration include:

  • Libraries may spend annual state aid funds received at their discretion, but every ARPA dollar spent must be accounted for and reported to IMLS by the State Library.

  • Funds can only be spent according to the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA); this creates programmatic limitations on how the money can be used.

    For example, ARPA funds cannot be used for land, construction, expansion, or many types of renovation, nor can they be used for advocacy or lobbying.

  • Since the 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 can be disbursed.

  • Terms and Conditions for accepting federal funds are still being developed at the national level. The terms specify the libraries’ responsibilities as recipients of federal funds.

  • ARPA is ultimately meant to address problems brought about or exacerbated by the pandemic.

  • The State Library lacks the administrative capacity to track and manage limitless types of projects and expenses. Reaslistic parameters on the types of projects supported are necessary to successfully administer the sub-grants and meet the IMLS reporting burden.

Return to Top

Funding Formula for Sub-Grant Awards

The Arkansas State Library developed a funding formula based on service population to determine the amount each library is eligible to receive.

The award amount is weighted by other factors that correspond to the spending priorities set out by Congress. Weights include:

  • Rurality (people per square mile);
  • Unemployment levels;
  • Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates (SAIPE);
  • Residential internet connectivity.

Return to Top

Purpose of ARPA & Spending Priorities

To achieve the American Rescue Plan Act’s purposes with respect to Grants to States, this funding is to be used by September 30, 2022, in helping communities respond directly and immediately to the pandemic, as well as to related economic and community needs through equitable approaches. Spending priorities are as follows:

First, to enable libraries to reach residents with internet hotspots, accessible Wi-Fi, and other digital inclusion efforts, particularly in support of education, health, and workforce development. The following types of data, among others, can inform efforts to reach underserved populations:

Second, to provide rapid emergency relief to libraries across the country, allowing them to safely respond to the pandemic and implement public health protocols;

Third, to support library services that meet the needs of communities throughout the U.S., including costs such as personnel, technology, training, materials, supplies, equipment, and associated indirect costs; and

With respect to the three points above, reach tribal and museum partners best positioned to assist with pandemic response efforts, in addition to traditionally eligible library entities, where appropriate.

Return to Top

To ensure the most prompt reply, Arkansas public library directors may send ARPA-related questions and concerns to