Stimulus $$$ and Utah libraries

Everyone’s wondering about stimulus money and how Utah librarians can get  it. Here’s my answer, and that’s just it, my answer. The thing is, we don’t want to miss out. Deseret News said that Salt Lake City and Salt Lake County will get most of the money. I don’t want it to slip by the rest of us.

The website to track is http://recovery.utah.gov/. It shows $ coming to Utah, $ being spent, and on what.

There is the Guide to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act for Utah. Take a look at that.

Emily Sheketoff of ALA tells how libraries can benefit and what to do.  Remember when she came to Utah for ULA/MPLA in 2008?  She said recently:

Specific provisions libraries can benefit from in the stimulus include $13 billion for Title I, $650 million for Enhancing Education Through Technology, $7.2 billion for Broadband, $53.6 billion for the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund, an additional $120 million for the Senior Community Service Employment Program, an additional $130 million for the Rural Community Facilities Program, and $4.24 billion and $1.33 billion for Military Libraries to try to access. ALA has posted information on how these provisions can benefit libraries.

Here are ways that Utah libraries can use the money.

Broadband. This is the biggest fund for libraries. There is $7.2 billion set aside nationally: $4.5 billion  for the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and $2.5 billion for the Rural Utilities Service (RUS), which includes $200 million set aside for community computing centers, including public libraries and community colleges.

Enhancing Education Through Technology. The school librarian could use this money for computers in the library, databases, etc. The goal is to help all students become technologically literate by the end of the eighth grade.

Title 1: Title I schools (usually lower income) have extra money coming in to close the achievement gap. The funding is flexible and, for the most part, the control rests in the hands of local and state superintendents–and spending some of it on school libraries would be a wise investment, ALA asserts.” (Maya Prabhu of ALA).  Utah Title 1 school librarians should contact their local school officials and get the ball rolling.

State Fiscal Stabilization Fund. Governor Huntsman will decide how to spend this and school libraries should be the ones to benefit if we band together. The ARRA directs governors to use 81.8 percent of the state’s allocation to support elementary, secondary and higher education. This funding is flexible so school librarians should make their case and get into this pot of money.

The Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) works with eligible seniors to gain job training and employment.  It does not specifically apply to work in libraries, although library work would definitely be a legitimate application of the program.  Utah has an ongoing SCSEP program and received additional funding under the stimulus bill.  Libraries could recruit seniors to work for them under this program.  SCSEP pays their wages, not the library. Sweet! Free (to you) yet paid for (by others) employees.  A real win-win. See http://www.doleta.gov/seniors/

Rural Community Facilities Program. The Community Programs is a division of the Housing and Community Facilities Programs at the United States Department of Agriculture.  Community Programs includes the Community Facilities Guaranteed Loan Program, the Community Facilities Direct Loan Program, and the Community Facilities Grant Program. These programs help develop essential community facilities for public use in rural areas. These facilities include schools, libraries, childcare, hospitals, medical clinics, assisted living facilities, fire and rescue stations, police stations, community centers, public buildings and transportation. In Utah see http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/ut/. Go to the listing for your area and contact the person there.

Military Libraries. I don’t know much about this but if you do, please reply.

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Colleen Eggett

Colleen Eggett is the Library Resources Program Manager for the Utah State Library in Salt Lake City UT.

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