CARES Act Grants

Overview

The Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC) continues to evaluate how to best use CARES Act funding to support Massachusetts libraries and the people they serve. These grant opportunities represent the first phase of how funds will be used.

Since the shut down due to COVID-19, the Massachusetts Library System (MLS) has conducted weekly check-ins with hundreds of young adult (YA) and children’s public librarians and school librarians. While the grant programs are based on the needs expressed during the check-ins, they are grants for all age groups and are not limited to YA or children.

Available Grant Programs

Summer Software Grant

The MBLC is offering Summer Software Grants to support library participation in the statewide summer reading program. While these are called "summer" grants, our hope is that libraries will use the software to support year-round library programing.

The MBLC will be working with Beanstack to provide this service. Below are some important details:

  • The grants will be for two years. You will not need to reapply; but once selected for the grant, if you decide not to use the software, please notify the MBLC so that someone else may use the license.
  • Funds will not come to the library. The MBLC has established a statewide contract with Beanstack and will pay them directly on behalf of your library.
  • Libraries will work directly with Beanstack to set-up their program and for any technical support.
  • Summer Software grants are made possible with federal funds from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). 

Eligibility

Public libraries that are certified in the State Aid to Public Libraries Program.

Timeline

Applications due May 29, 2020.

Application Help

Contact Lyndsay Forbes for assistance or questions.

Virtual Programming for Distance Learning

Massachusetts continues to be hard hit by COVID-19. Virtual Programming for Distance Learning will remain a valuable way to provide services well into the summer and beyond.

Libraries may use Virtual Programming for Distance Learning grants to support increased public access to library virtual programs.  Programming for all ages should be considered. Libraries are strongly encouraged to work with local museums and local cultural institutions to enhance virtual programming.

Funds may be used for:

  • Equipment such as, tripods, green screens, recording equipment, access to software or online subscriptions to create videos, promotions, print and digital materials (canva, stopmotion apps, screencast services, trivia and other remote games, etc.) [Funds may be used to purchase computers/laptops, tablets, and WI-FI hotspots if a library can certify that it complies with the Children’s Internet Protection Action (CIPA),  or will undertake actions to come into compliance within one year. For more information on CIPA, please contact Paul Kissman.]
  • Virtual performers may be paid with grant funds. Must be educational in nature, not entertainment
  • Materials for developing remote learning kits (for example) that can be distributed to patrons for curbside pickup or at locations outside the library, such as grocery stores, school meal sites, little free libraries, post offices. Funds may not be used to purchase prizes/rewards.
  • Supplies may be purchased for storywalks and virtual storytimes (for example) things like books, felt board, puppets.

If these sessions are recorded, they will be uploaded to the statewide video library.  All virtual events will be included in the statewide calendar to help increase awareness and participation.

Amount

$1000 - $3500

Eligibility

Any library that is a member of MLS can apply. Public libraries must be certified in state aid.

Timeline

Round One:

  • Application opens - June 1, 2020
  • Applications due - June 19, 2020

Round Two:

TBD 

Application

Application Help

Contact Lyndsay Forbes for assistance or questions.

Mental Health and Self-Care

Massachusetts residents of all ages have experienced a tremendous amount of loss due to COVID-19. Stress factors from COVID-19 on families include unemployment, food insecurity, educational gaps, and loss of loved ones. Library staffs are frontline workers who will be working with residents. They also have concerns around the health and wellbeing of their communities, of their own families, safety concerns with returning to work or being laid off/furloughed.

Libraries may use Mental Health grants to partner with schools, local mental health organizations and other community based groups to assist individuals, children, teens, and families who are having difficulty. This also includes support for library staff.

Some examples of how grants may be used include:

  • mental health training for staff to assist patrons
  • opportunities and support for staff mental health and well-being
  • hiring mental health professionals to run programs and provide resources
  • offering wellness programs such as virtual yoga and meditation

Programs that focus on vulnerable populations are encouraged. For example, teens who need social experiences with their peers as part of their development and social/emotional health, seniors and other residents who may be isolated, individuals in unsafe/abusive homes and LGBTQ+ youth who are not able to freely express themselves at home.

Amount

$2500 - $7500

Eligibility

Any library that is a member of MLS can apply. Public libraries must also be certified in state aid.

Timeline

Applications will open on October 28, 2020.

Application

Application available after the grant opens.

Application Help

Contact Lyndsay Forbes for assistance or questions.