In the last year, we've seen libraries across the world get creative to continue to serve their communities by offering virtual book clubs, drive-in Wi-Fi services, and mobile technology labs. While overcoming financial and community engagement challenges, libraries remained steadfast in serving their communities.
Last week, to help support libraries across the United States, the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) allocated $200M in emergency funding to the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) - the single largest allocation of funding in the IMLS' history.
Here are 3 things you need to know:
- IMLS Funding will be distributed to state libraries through a population-based formula, with a minimum of $2M per state. While specifics of the formula have not been shared, we believe that states with larger populations will likely receive greater amounts of funding.
- Once funding is allocated to states, state libraries will be responsible for distributing funds to local library systems based on priorities like:
- Expanding access to technology - digital network expansion, hotspot availability, and purchases of computers/digital content.
- Establishing digital mobile labs - Wi-Fi, digital devices, and virtual content in a bookmobile setting.
- Workforce development and career-specific programming - content, and resources that connect and help community members prepare for employment opportunities.
- Providing training and technical support for libraries - tools and guidance to support library staff with technology.
- Libraries that also participate in the Emergency Education Connectivity Fund will receive 100% reimbursement for digital device purchases that are lent to customers.
The pandemic has shown us how much Americans rely on their local libraries and digital resources to stay connected to the internet, educated on current events, and prepared for career growth.
With greater access to funding and federal support, library systems across the country can continue to provide innovative services to support their communities.
Keeping communities connected
Equitable access to technology is an essential need of the modern world and libraries are positioned to be trusted partners in building a connected future.
Identifying, targeting, and reaching the community members who need your programs most can be challenging, but OrangeBoy's Community Engagement Platform, Savannah, is designed to help you do just that.
Use Savannah's suite of features to:
- Identify customers AND community members who do not have access to internet services or digital content. Savannah harnesses real-time data to map households in your service area with limited internet service and connectivity challenges.
- Understand who, when, and how often digital services are being used across your community and in your library. Savannah intelligently identifies individuals based on real-time geographic, socioeconomic, and behavioral data.
- Create a digital outreach plan to connect specific community members with the services that they need most. Savannah can send personalized, targeted email and direct mail content to stakeholders - empowering you to create meaningful engagement.
Through the pandemic, libraries and their staff have been heroic in their efforts to keep communities connected. With funding insight and programs in place to support transformative library services, libraries across the US continue to be trusted and innovative community leaders.
Learn more about how Savannah Libraries have been hard at work keeping their communities connected throughout the pandemic.
Want to learn more about how OrangeBoy can help you connect with your community? Contact us today!