Montana State Library
American Recovery and Rescue Plan - E-Bulletin
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.
Montana State Library - ARPA Webinar Series 
In January, MCDC hosted the second webinar on ARPA programs. The next webinar will be scheduled in March and will focus on public facility funding. Recordings and PowerPoints from the webinars are available at:

Highlights from the grant readiness webinar are summarized below.

1. Coordinating with Regional Economic Development Agencies
Presenters: Sara Converse, Sweetgrass Development and Tracy McIntyre, Montana Cooperative Development Center

  • Economic Development Overview – Montana Economic Developers Association is a good resource to connect with economic development professionals. A map of regional development organizations can be downloaded at:    
  • Pursue opportunities to partner with economic development agencies on work force development. Rural counties lack convenient access to Montana Job Service offices. In these counties, libraries are important resources for job seekers.
  • American Rescue Plan Act has funds for rapid retraining. Libraries may be able to partner with economic development agencies to develop rapid retraining and other programs.
  • Economic development agencies also assist with grant writing for local governments. They can help identify potential fundings sources and assist with grant applications.
  • Connect with economic development professionals and local government officials to build community support. Participate in planning processes and to make sure that libraries are specifically mentioned in Comprehensive Economic Development Strategies (CEDS), capital improvement plans (CIP) and Growth Policies.
2. Grant Readiness

Presenter: Kathleen McMahon, Applied Communications

  • Grant research and planning will help libraries increase the chance of successful grants applications.
  • Libraries should engage in strategic and community planning to help identify potential projects and to demonstrate the need for programs and expenditures.
  • Library planning documents may include:
Technology Assessments  
Capital Improvement Plans
Facility Plans – Preliminary Architectural Report (PAR) 
Strategic Plans - Needs Assessments
Energy Audits
Environmental Assessments (For asbestos, lead paint, or lead pipes)

  • Coordinate with community plans to build support for the project and to access a wider range of funding sources. This is especially important if the library will need city or county officials to submit a grant on their behalf. Community planning process include:
Growth Policies
Downtown Plan
Historic Preservation Plan
Pre-Disaster Mitigation Plan
One-on-One Technical Assistance
One-on-one technical assistance regarding ARPA funding is now available to libraries.  Technical assistance is being provided by contract planner Applied Communications and includes an initial telephone or zoom call to assess library needs, review grant programs and determine follow-up assistance.   If you are interested in scheduling a technical assistance call, please contact:
Kate McMahon

Federation Meetings 
Kate McMahon of Applied Communications will be participating in upcoming Federation meetings to provide an overview of the ARPA outreach program and to answer questions. Please note the following dates for the meetings.
Grant Programs for Historic Library Buildings
Library buildings that have historical significance may be eligible for a number of grant programs. The Montana State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), maintains a list of historic sites and historic districts. Generally a site is eligible for grants if one of the below criteria is met:

  • Structure or site is listed on National, State, or Local Historic Registry
  • Structure or site contributes to a historic district
  • A structure more than 50 years old and has documented significance to the history of a Montana community or region
Potential grant programs that may help with historic preservation efforts include the following:

Montana Historic Preservation Grant Program
The biennial application cycle for the Montana Historic Preservation Grant (MHPG) Program is now open! The deadline to apply is February 28, 2022. To support applicants, Commerce hosted a MHPG Application Workshop. To access the application and recording of the workshop. Note that an architectural study is generally required.  Other grant programs can provide funding for these planning studies.


Main Street Program Grants
If your community participates in the Montana Main Street Program and the library is within a downtown district, it may qualify for a Main Street grant. The program helps local governments and Main Street partners by offering technical assistance and expertise to member communities as well as competitive grant funding to communities. Grants focus on planning and projects directly related to downtown revitalization, economic development, and historic preservation. Grants deadline is typically in the fall.

Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) – Planning
CDBG planning grants may be used for the preparation of plans or studies related to historic preservation or the architectural studies related to historic buildings. Grants are now awarded on a quarterly basis and may cover the following projects related to library historic preservation efforts.

  • Downtown Revitalization or Master Plans
  • Historic and Architectural Preservation Studies
  • ADA Self-Assessment Plans
  • Brownfield Redevelopment Plans (If library has asbestos or other soil contamination)
  • Preliminary Architectural Reports (PAR)
  • Preliminary Engineering Reports (PER)
National Endowment for Humanities – Preservation Grants for Smaller Institutions
Preservation Assistance Grants help small and mid-sized institutions — such as libraries— improve their ability to preserve and care for their significant humanities collections. These may include special collections of books and journals, archives, and manuscripts, prints and photographs, moving images, sound recordings, architectural and cartographic records, decorative and fine art objects, textiles, archaeological and ethnographic artifacts, furniture, historical objects, and digital materials.

Energy Audits – National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT)
Weatherization and energy upgrades can save libraries significant funds in heating and air conditioning bills. Often the cost of such upgrades will be recuperated in energy savings within a few years. NCAT offers energy audits for commercial and government buildings to identify energy-saving opportunities, identify renewable energy options and estimate project costs. The scope of the audit is based on budget, timeline, operational concerns, and energy goals. The audits include an analysis of heating, ventilation and cooling (HVAC), motors, pumps, building shell and lighting systems. An evaluation of the site for potential alternative energy can also be included in the analysis.

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
Kate McMahon
Applied Communications
For general information on ARPA and other resources:
State of Montana ARPA Commission web page:   
Montana Department of Commerce – ARPA Resources: Montana Coronavirus Relief (
Montana ARPA Hot Line: 1-844-406-2772