ANNOUNCING
Montana State Library
American Recovery and Rescue Plan - E-Bulletin
12-6-21
State Library ARPA E-Bulletin
Welcome to the latest edition of the Montana State Library ARPA E-Bulletin.  The State Library has contracted with the Montana Cooperative Development Center (MCDC) and the consulting firm of Applied Communications to provide outreach and technical assistance to local libraries regarding information about the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding opportunities.   Look for monthly e-bulletins with updates on grants, training, and partnering opportunities. For general information on ARPA and other resources:

State of Montana ARPA web page:   https://arpa.mt.gov/



Montana Department of Commerce – ARPA Resources: Montana Coronavirus Relief (mt.gov)

Montana ARPA Hot Line: 1-844-406-2772


Announcing ARPA Funds Available for Library E-Resources!

Pending Commission approval, the ARPA e-resources budget recommended by the Network Advisory Council will enhance content in existing programs and provide access to new resources for a limited time. Items on the list include:

  • Additional funding, new collections, and a marketing campaign for MontanaLibrary2Go;
  • Enrollment coverage for more schools in the Montana Schools shared OverDrive collection;
  • Expanding perpetual access content offerings in the Digital Public Library of America;
  • READsquared summer reading tracker;
  • Montana newspapers online;
  • Playaways for offline audiobook checkouts;
  • Professional development webinars and e-books for Montana library staff;
  • Emergency response kits for every public and tribal library, to supplement the State Library's Moodle course in disaster preparedness;
  • Tracking software for the courier network.
 
These ARPA-funded resources will become available starting in January. Please contact Cara Orban (corban@mt.gov) for more information.

Montana State Library - ARPA Webinar Series    

In November, MCDC hosted the first in a series of webinar series on ARPA programs and suggestions for libraries to coordinate with state agencies and other partners.  A recording of the November webinar is available at: ARPA 101 & Related Funding Opportunities for Libraries - Montana Cooperative Development Center (mcdc.coop)  The next webinar will be scheduled in January and will focus on grant writing. Registration for the January webinar will be included in the next e-bulletin and on the website.
   
HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE NOVEMBER WEBINAR

Montana Dept. of Commerce -ARPA 101 (Cody Ferguson, Cody.Ferguson@mt.gov)

  • Libraries can’t apply directly for ARPA water and sewer funds. A local government must apply on their behalf.   There will likely be a second round of funds distributed in January.  Talk to your local government as soon as possible regarding potential projects.

  • Water & Sewer grants related to public health and water conservation are eligible projects.  Replacing lead water pipes is an example of a public health issue that would qualify for funds.   See “Library Funding Guide for ARPA Water & Sewer” grants for more information about other types of projects.

Montana Telecommunications Association – Broadband (Geoff Feiss, geoff@broadbandmt.com )
  • Guidelines for the state ARPA broadband programs are still under development. The Montana ARPA Commission is overseeing distribution of state broadband funds from ARPA. (Check web site for latest information:  APRA Commission.)

  • The national “Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act” adopted in November provides funding for rural broadband.   Funds will be allocated based on meeting needs for broadband availability. Mapping these needs will likely not be completed until 2023.  The Act established the following programs to distribute funds.
  • Broadband Equity Access and Deployment ($42 Billion)
  • Enabling Middle Mile Broadband Infrastructure ($1 Billion)
  • Tribal Broadband Connectivity Grant ($2 Billion)
  • Digital Equity Act Program ($2.75 Billion)


  • For both the ARPA programs and Infrastructure Act programs, partnerships will be important.  Libraries should participate in broadband planning processes and should contact their local providers to encourage them to include service to libraries as part of their project proposals for fiber networks.   For a map of broadband providers in your area, see the following: https://www.broadbandmt.com/assets/docs/Montana%20RLEC%20Fiber%20Map%208-23-16.pdf



Zero-to-Five – Coordinating with funding for Childcare (Caitlin Jensen, caitlinj@zerotofive.org )
  • Licensed child care capacity meets only about 44% of the estimated demand in Montana.  The shortage of child care is a workforce issue.

  • Zero-to-Five is a non-profit. They partnered with the State to assess gaps in the Montana child care ecosystem.  Based on this study, the Montana ARPA commission established six programs to address increasing the supply of child care options, training for child care providers and retaining/recruiting child care workers.

  • The “Community/Business Innovation and Infrastructure Solution Grants” will fund innovative community partnerships to create, expand, or advance child care availability.  Zero-to-Five and the Montana Cooperative Development Center have partnered to administer these grants.  

  • Libraries can be potential resource for child care solutions with programs such as an information clearinghouse, after school programs, enrichment programs for child care providers and potentially leasing space for providers.  Nine communities have already been awarded grants for planning and technical assistant. See the following website for a list of communities and to find out how libraries can be involved.  Montana Community Child Care Innovations Pilot — Zero to Five

  • The proposed federal “Build Back Better Plan” provides income eligible families child care subsidies and would fund universal pre-kindergarten.   The bill has passed the House and is still under consideration by the Senate.  


ARPA Workforce Training Grants 
The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) Workforce Training Grant Program provides grant funds to reimburse businesses for training of new and existing full-time workers. The business must be able to demonstrate an increase in revenue, capacity and/or production/manufacturing as result of the training process. The Montana Economic Transformation, Stabilization & Workforce Development Advisory Commission allocated $10 million for the program. Economic (mt.gov)

The grant award may only be used for direct costs associated with education or skills-based training for new or existing jobs.  Businesses may use the funds to sub-contract with  accredited “Eligible Training Providers” by the Montana Department of Labor and industry (DOLI) may.  Libraries can explore partnerships with eligible providers to offer training programs.  Search for training partners at the Montana DOLI web page:   Training and Education (mt.gov)


For more Information on Montana State Library/MCDC APRA Outreach Efforts 
Check future e-bulletins for answers to more questions!   For additional information on this outreach program please contact:
Tracy Cook
Montana State Library
406-431-0685
Kate McMahon
Applied Communications
406-863-9255