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Frequently Asked Questions - State Grants

Contents:

A. Funding Questions

Q: How much will my library receive?
A: After an approved increase by the State Legislature in 2015-2016, the minimum funding amount per eligible library is now $3,500. Grantees will receive an amount depending on the population served or enrollment. Projected funding amounts are posted on the website, and the table below shows the tiers of funding.
Population/Enrollment Served Project Grant Amount
1 -999 $3,500
1,000-4,999 $4,000
5,000-9,999 $4,500
10,000+ $4,500 + $0.22 per capita above 10,000

 

Q: What happens to funds if a library doesn’t apply or is not eligible?
A: The projected funds those libraries would have received will be distributed on a per capita basis among the libraries that do apply, meet the requirements, and serve a population or enrollment higher than 10,000. 

Q: Which libraries are allocated funding?
A: Public Libraries. Each eligible library legal entity, not each branch, will receive funding.  The library board and/or director then determine the distribution to branches/members or purchases such as e-books or databases that can be used by all branches/members.

A: School Libraries. Each eligible school district, not each school building, will be awarded the funding. The district then determines the distribution of the funds to individual school libraries or purchases such as e-books or databases that can be used by all school libraries.

A: Academic Libraries. Funding will be awarded to the library system of each eligible academic institution, not to each library of the institution.  The library system of the institution then determines the distribution of the funds, which may include e-books or databases that are available across each library of the institution.

Q: Where will the check be sent?
A: The check will go to the District, Jurisdiction, or University on file with the Accounting office at the Colorado Department of Education (CDE). In most cases this is the business office for the main jurisdictional facility. We will let you know the amount to look for when the check is mailed so that you can work with your finance people to assure the money is allocated to your library collections budget.

Q: Is this Federal or State money?
A: This is State money.

Q: What happens if we spend all but a few dollars of our grant? Do we have to return it?
A: Yes, you would need to return any unused grant money. But please do try to spend the entire amount by the end of the grant period (June 30) because it takes time (money) for the State to process the return of money. Make a quick trip to your local bookstore for one last book!

B. Filling Out and Submitting Form

Q: I downloaded the Eligibility Form but I can’t seem to type in it. What should I do?
A: The Eligibility Form is a fillable form in Word. You may need to “Enable Editing” when you open it. When you click on the document the cursor will go to the form sections that you need to fill out – they appear as greyed out sections. You can tab from one section to the next, filling in your contact information, Xs for the Yes/No section, budget information, etc.  If you are not able to type in the document, you can print it out and fill it out by hand, very clearly please.

Q: The guidelines say I can scan the form and attach it to an email. Why can’t I just send you the filled out Word form?
A: The last page asks for signatures. So please print your filled out form, get the required signatures, and then you could scan it and attach it to an email to submit it. No need to send the original.

Q: The guidelines say I can send it to you various ways. What do you prefer?
A: We prefer that you scan the signed completed forms and send by email. But if you’d like to send a hard copy, please allow enough time for processing once received in Denver – it can take about 5 days sometimes for us to receive mail in our offices once received by the State – and that doesn’t even count the time it takes from your mailbox to the State!

Q: How do I know my application has been received?
A: You will receive email verifying that your application has been received.

C. Eligibility

Q: What libraries are eligible to apply for these grants?
A:
The bill makes grant monies available to “…publicly supported libraries, including public libraries, school libraries, and academic libraries…”.  (CRS 24-90-402).

Q: Does every school, public, and academic library in the state get a grant?
A:
For distribution purposes, only the main funding agency entity applies for and receives the grant. Public library branches, separate academic library facilities within a college or university, and school buildings do not apply for nor receive separate funding. In schools, grants go the main school district office.

Q: How does the entity receiving the funds expend them for all libraries?
A:
Each library funding agency that applies for and receives a grant decides how to spend the amount for its libraries. Use of grant funds may include purchase of eligible materials (e.g. databases) to serve everyone using the libraries, or shared with any or all libraries within the jurisdiction as needed to fulfill the requirements for expending funds.

Q: Are BOCES or non-publicly funded agencies eligible to apply for these grants?
A:
No, BOCES, privately funded school libraries, or private academic libraries are not eligible according to the state law, C.R.S. 24-90-402, which provided funding for these annual grants. School districts that are served by a BOCES are eligible to apply and receive funds.

Q: Can a charter school apply?
A:
Not individually. Like other public schools, a charter school could receive funding through its authorizing district’s award, but is not eligible to apply for/receive a grant directly because this is a formula, not competitive grant. If a charter school is authorized by the Colorado Charter School Institute rather than its local school district, the Colorado Charter School Institute would be the entity to apply for the grant and distribute the funds to eligible school libraries (i.e., meeting the definition of School Library and other eligibility requirements outlined in the Guidelines) within its network of charter schools.

Q: Our town has a school/public combined library. Can we apply as both a school and a public and receive two grants, or do we just apply once?
A:
If the facility has two separate reporting authorities (e.g. school board and library board) the facility can apply for funds for each library type. If the facility is in a school and also provides services as a public library (or vice versa) but has no separately designated board overseeing the public library operations, the library can apply as a school or a public, but not both.

Q: We currently charge late fines and fees for damaged or lost children’s books. Are we still eligible?
A:
Yes, you are eligible. There are no eligibility requirements related to policies about fees or fines for grant distribution this year (FY2017-2018). If fees and fines are a barrier to materials being used by some of your community members and this grant provides additional resources for replacing books that offset collection of some or all fines, you might consider a review of your policy.

Q: We do interlibrary loans, but we don’t use the SWIFT or Prospector service. Do we have to use SWIFT or Prospector to qualify for the ILL eligibility requirement?
A:
No, you do not need to be a SWIFT or Prospector member. As long as you have policies or procedures in place that allow loaning of items to others on request and obtain materials from other libraries if requested by those using your library, you meet the eligibility requirement regarding interlibrary loans.

D. Maintenance of Effort

Q: What is the purpose of the “maintenance of effort” requirement?
A: This is insurance for the library to not have its budget reduced as a result of anticipating or receiving these grant dollars.  These funds are intended to supplement, not supplant the annual budget for library materials provided by the local funding agency.

Q: The question asks for the library collections budget. What does that include?
A: This would include all funds spent on print, electronic, and other materials. Do not include related expenses (e.g., collection development staff salaries, support materials, IT costs), or other operating expenses, building or grounds maintenance, capital expenses, or any grants to the library for collections. For schools, please include the library collections budget for the whole district, not just one or a set of schools that may receive the grant.

Q: The form asks for our current year budget and three previous years of actual expenditures. Do you want the calendar year or a fiscal year?
A: Please use your own fiscal year that ends in the year noted. For example, if your fiscal year is on the calendar year (January – December), your current budget would be for January – December 2017. If your fiscal year is July – June, your current budget would be for July 2017 – June 2018.

Q: What happens if my current year budget is less than the average of the previous three years? The form says you will ask for additional information. What information will you want?
A: We understand that budgets sometimes go down, but we will need you to demonstrate that this grant supplemented, and not supplanted, local funding. For example, we may ask you for your entire operating budgets for those years so we can compare your collections budget to other line items. Or we may ask for information related to your revenue sources and why the funding decreased. We will contact those applicants as necessary.

E. Uses of Funds

Q: What can my library purchase with this money?
A: C.R.S. 23-90-402 states: “The General Assembly hereby finds and declares that the purpose of this part 4 is to …enable these institutions to obtain educational resources they would otherwise be unable to afford…”. Please refer to the “How State Grants Can Be Used – Eligible Uses Checklist” for examples of purchases that are eligible or not eligible with this funding.

Q: Can overhead or grants administration charges be funded from the allocations received by library agencies?
A: No, the law specifically states that all funds received under this grant must be used for purchasing educational resources.

Q: May the allocated funds be used to purchase web access?
A: No, the funds must be used for a product of content, as in educational resources.

Q: May we use these funds to purchase statewide databases?
A: Yes, your library or school district may use the state funding for libraries grant to renew or subscribe to any of the statewide databases provided by in the Colorado Library Consortium (CLiC) cooperative purchase agreement, early literacy databases, or other database vendors.

Q: What if we already paid for the database subscription - can we use the State Grants funding to cover that expense?
A: No, the database purchase must be paid for during the funding period of October 1, 2017 through June 30, 2018, although the subscription period may extend beyond the grant period. But if using grant funds for a database subscription, please make the purchase near the beginning of the grant period so that the benefit of the purchase is available during the grant period.

Q: May we use these to purchase ebooks, audiobooks, or eBook readers?
A: Ebooks, audio ebooks, audiobooks and self-contained audio or video ebook devices that are pre-loaded with educational content (e.g., “Playaway” type materials) may be purchased with grant funds. EBook readers, because they are a device, not an ‘educational material’ as described in the statute, are NOT eligible purchases.

Q: Can I buy crafts, puppets, felt boards, counting blocks, or other educational toys for our children’s area and/or for storytimes?
A: No. The Eligible Uses Checklist specifies that you can purchase books for storytimes, and another eligible use would be to purchase early literacy activities and manipulatives that are circulated or packaged for public use (e.g., family backpacks for home use that are returned to the library). Items not eligible include early literacy activities, manipulatives, or furnishing in the children’s are that are not circulated.

Q: Can I purchase educational literacy software, such as Lexia Reading Core?
A: While technically eligible, purchases that promote reading growth in struggling readers rather than those relying on reader testing are encouraged.

Q: Previous years the focus of this funding was on early literacy. Is there a similar focus this year?
A: The purpose of the funding is for educational resources that support efforts to improve literacy and learning. This can include early literacy, but it can also include other education-related needs identified by the grantee.

F. Internet Filtering

Q: Do we need to install filters on all our computers?
A: Only public and school libraries are affected by the statutory filtering requirement. Academic libraries are not required to filter. The bill offers three options, so the library can choose which option best meets the needs of its community:

School Libraries 24-90-404(c) In the case of a school library that provides one or more public access computers: (l) equip each computer with software that will limit the ability of minors to gain computer access to material that is obscene or illegal; OR  (ll) purchase internet connectivity from an Internet service provider that provides filter services to limit the computer access of minors to material that is obscene or illegal; OR (lll) develop and implement a policy, adopted by the board of education of the school district that maintains that library, that establishes and enforces measures to restrict minors from obtaining computer access to material that is obscene or illegal.

Public Libraries 24-90-404(d) In the case of any publicly supported library other than a school or academic library that provides one or more public access computers: (l) equip each such computer with software that will limit the ability of minors to gain computer access to material that is obscene or illegal; OR (ll) purchase Internet connectivity from an Internet service provider that provides filter services to limit the computer access of minors to material that is obscene or illegal; OR (lll) develop and implement a policy, publicly adopted by the governing body of such library, that establishes and enforces measures to restrict minors from obtaining computer access to material that is obscene or illegal.

G. Colorado Libraries Collaborate (CLC)

Q: Do school districts need to be members of CLC?
A: CLC is encouraged but not required for school districts due to increased security concerns regarding access to schools by the public. The CLC manual provides suggestions for sharing of resources, such as intra- or inter-district loaning of items.

Q: Why is CLC membership one of the factors for eligibility for public and academic libraries?
A: Colorado residents have long-benefited from the CLC program, which allows reciprocal borrowing between libraries. Participation in CLC helps make materials available to everyone within the confines of any requirements established by each library. Being a CLC participant enhances your library’s access to materials, reduces costs by allowing borrowing rather than purchase of some items, and helps foster the collaborative spirit Colorado has long enjoyed with its libraries.

Q: How do I know if we are a CLC member?
A: A list of libraries that are currently CLC members can be found here.

Q: If our library is not a member now, but needs to become a member to become eligible for these grants, can I become a member now and be eligible?
A:  Yes. If we receive your application for CLC membership by the due date for the Grant Eligibility Forms, you will be considered a member and meeting that eligibility requirement.

H. Population/Enrollment Counts

Q: How is the population served number figured for public libraries?
A: The number served is based on 1) the 2010 census figures 2) the Legal Service Area served documented in the Establishment Document on file with the State Library.  If a library entity is serving those who are not served, or is serving those in unincorporated areas, then that population will be divided proportionally among the library governing entities that have agreements with other governing entities to provide service and provide financial support in this effort.

Q: How is the population served number figured for academic libraries?
A: Student enrollment numbers were derived from information in the latest NCES/IPEDS data website.

Q: How is the student enrollment figured for school libraries?
A: The school district enrollment numbers come from the Colorado Department of Education’s most recent District Pupil Membership.

I. Definitions

Q: How are libraries defined?
A: The definitions of academic, county, joint, library district, and municipal libraries are defined in this Act in the same way as in Library Law, 24-90-101.  For the purpose of this bill, school libraries are defined as “…established and maintained by a particular school district and shall not mean each separate or individual library facility established and maintained by such school district”.

Q: For the purposes of this grant, what is a minor?
A: The Act defines “minor” as “any person under the age of 18”.

Q: How are educational resources defined?
A: “Education resources” is defined as “one or all of the following: books, periodicals, or any other form of print media; audiovisual materials; and electronic information resources.” “Electronic information resources” is further defined as “material of an educational or informational nature that may only be accessed by computer or electronic terminal”.  No computers or Internet access may be purchased with this grant.  No staff may be hired with this grant.

J. General Information

Q: How did the State Grants to Libraries Act originate and what is the purpose?
A: SB01-85 passed in 2001, created the means for an appropriation of state funds and mechanism for providing state grants to libraries. Grants were funded for two years, and then refunded for FY2013-14 and renewed since then through actions of the Joint Budget Committee. The statute that resulted contains a Legislative declaration (24-90-402) stating that the purpose is “…to make grant moneys available to publicly supported libraries, including public libraries, school libraries, and academic libraries, to enable these institutions to obtain educational resources they would otherwise be unable to afford, to the end that the state will receive the corresponding benefits of a better educated and informed population.”

Updated 7/1/17

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