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LSTA Grants: FAQs

All the information you need to apply for and manage an LSTA grant.

LSTA and IMLS

Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) funds are provided through the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). IMLS is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s approximately 120,000 libraries and 35,000 museums. The mission of IMLS is to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement. Their grant making, policy development, and research help libraries and museums deliver valuable services that make it possible for communities and individuals to thrive. The use of LSTA funds in Connecticut is administered according to the Five-Year Plan (2018-2022) submitted to IMLS in June 2017.

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FAQs

Why all the rules?

Many of these rules are mandated by the State or Federal government, and there are some things that we just can't change. LSTA funds come from the Federal government via IMLS (Institute of Museum and Library Services). Basically, these are some of your tax dollars coming back to Connecticut to be spent specifically on library services, including these subgrants. Since they're Federal funds, the government has specific rules we have to follow for spending the money. In addition, the State has rules and legislation about contracts, deadlines, payment methods, etc. As a state agency, the Connecticut State Library has to follow those rules.

Who is eligible to apply for LSTA grant funding?

Principal public libraries as well as school, academic, and special libraries are eligible to apply. All programs must be free and open to everyone. They should be something your library could continue after the grant period ends, or a project that can be replicated elsewhere. Non-principal public libraries are not eligible.

Who decides if we get a grant?

Grant applications are reviewed and scored by small teams of CSL Division of Library Development staff. Then we all come together as a group to discuss each project and make funding recommendations based on the application scores. These recommendations are sent to the State Library Board at their May meeting, and they make the final approvals.

Will it improve my chances for funding if I include letters of support in my grant application?

Yes. We're looking for user-based, community-driven projects that are sustainable. Support will be critical if your project requires direct cooperation from a community partner, and a letter from that organization's director will be crucial part of a successful application.

How many grants can we apply for?

Library systems may submit one application per category per year.

How does this requirement for matching funds work?

CSL requires local libraries to provide at least a 25% match to the amount of Federal grant funds they receive. For example, if you request $3,000 in LSTA grant funds, then your library must match at least $750 in cash or in kind. The total cost of your project would be at least $3,750.

How do we get the grant money?

If your town or library has set up EFT (electronic fund transfer) payments with the state, then the funds will be released into the designated bank account, as with other funds that your town or library receives from the State. If your town or library does not receive EFT payments, then the Department of Administrative Services (DAS) will issue a check to the name and address you put on the Application for Payment (line D on that form).

How do we set up EFT payments?

The person in charge of town or library finances should set this up. The Connecticut State Library can't do it for you. Go to http://www.osc.ct.gov/vendor/index.html and follow the instructions for enrolling in the Vendor Direct Deposit (ACH) program.

When do we get the money?

After you submit your signed contract and Application for Payment of Federal Grant (all due July 1) to the LSTA Coordinator, she will review them for accuracy and completeness. If no changes are needed, she will send the forms to the State Librarian for his signature. If changes are needed, she will contact the Project Director and Library Director with guidance on how they should revise and resubmit the forms. 

Once the State Librarian has signed the forms and returned them to the LSTA Coordinator, she will ask DAS to issue the first payment to your library. It may take DAS a few weeks to release the funds to your library's bank account or cut the check.

To get the second/final payment, you must submit your Midpoint Report and Midpoint Expenditure Report (due January 15) to the LSTA Coordinator. Again, she will review them for accuracy and completeness. If no changes are needed, she will ask DAS to issue the final payment to your library. If changes are needed, she will contact the Project Director and Library Director with guidance on how they should revise and resubmit the forms. 

What kind of documentation do I need for project expenses?

This includes documents such as receipts, purchase orders, contracts, travel reimbursement forms, and cumulative payroll reports. You must provide documentation for all expenses charged to the grant.

What counts as matching funds?

These are are goods and services provided by the library and partners, including staff time of full-time employees who worked on the project, use of existing equipment or supplies, and project-related library materials or equipment purchased by the library. It can also include cash from other grants or donors.

What documentation do I need for matching funds?

You do not need to provide documentation to substantiate your library's matching contributions.

What if we don't spend all the grant funds on this project?

If you don't spend all the money, you're required to give the funds back to the State Library. Contact the LSTA Coordinator for more information how to do this.

I still have more questions!

Contact Maria Bernier, LSTA Coordinator: Maria.Bernier@ct.gov, 860-704-2204

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