A Message from the State Librarian: American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) Update

Dear Colleague:

I wanted to take a moment to provide you an update on the ARPA funds NJSL has received from IMLS. I want to thank you and your staff members for taking the time to e-mail or call with thoughts and ideas about how we may best expend the funds to benefit New Jerseyans. Of course, we can’t do all the good ideas that were brought up, but please know that if your project isn’t on the list, we have tucked it away for future reference.

Our intent, pending appropriate procurement and contracting, is to:

  • License an online homework assistance product
  • License a tool for virtual meetings for up to 400 public libraries
  • License an online professional development training resource related to working with the homeless, for public, academic and school library staff
  • Continue implementation of SimplyE
  • Continue deployment of RemoteAssist

Since the procurement process isn’t completed yet, we’re not able to identify specific vendors.

In addition, we will:

  • Support part-time, temporary outreach on the new Braille e-reader through the Talking Book and Braille Center.
  • Engage in a literacy project focused on helping residents achieve digital literacy and build workforce development skills. Partners for this work are being identified, please let me know if your library may be interested in participating.

And, finally,

We will allocate $1,800,000 for competitive grants to public libraries. We will offer both large and small grant opportunities, and the focus will be on priorities identified by IMLS and supported in our LSTA Five Year Plan. In an effort to reach underserved communities, we will award bonus points to applications from communities that rank as highly challenged based on the Municipal Revitalization Index. More information will be out by June 1, 2021.

I want to thank you again for engaging with us in the process.

Jen Nelson
State Librarian
New Jersey State Library
609 278 2640 ext. 101