On October 7, 2020, Governor Ned Lamont announced the dedication of $2.6 million of Connecticut’s Coronavirus Relief Funds to support the state’s public libraries as they continue to make health and safety improvements and offer more services to residents amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The Governor’s office selected libraries in urban and rural areas where public Internet access was most needed.
The CT State Library quickly distributed grant funds to the 62 public libraries using the State Aid formula, which accounts for a municipality’s AENGLC wealth ranking, population, and library operating expenditures per capita. The base grant amount was set at $20,000 per library. Individual grant awards ranged from $20,677 to $167,451.
Each library director and their staff worked diligently to spend the money on eligible items by the deadline of December 28 with specific focus on providing connectivity access via Wi-Fi or public computers to remote learners and patrons working from home. Even in towns where COVID infection rates were increasing, libraries planned and prepared for future days when they could welcome patrons back into their buildings.
Summary of grant expenses
Grant funds were spent on:
Final Grant Report
The grant report form is available as a Word document in the box on the left-hand side of this page. Download and fill out the form and sign it. Answer the two narrative questions on a separate page. Send the report form and narrative to Dawn.LaValle@ct.gov. Also attach pdfs documenting your expenses, as described below. If you have been tracking your expenses in a spreadsheet or other method, attach a copy of that too.
With your narrative responses, be sure to indicate how you improved internet access for your patrons, whether through expanded WiFi, more laptops and hotspots, safe places for computer use, etc. If you have any anecdotes from happy patrons, or before and after photos, please include them!
“Proof of expenditures” can include copies of order confirmation emails from an online store where you paid with a credit card, paid invoices, receipts, quotations marked “paid,” copies of checks, etc. On the printouts or in the pdf filenames, indicate what budget category those expenses fall into, such as a handwritten notation on the invoices that they’re for PPE or indoor furniture, or pdf file names such as “IT” or “cleaning.”
Do not include sales tax in your expenses – that’s not an allowable use of the grant funds.
All the grant money must be spent, not just encumbered. The soft deadline for spending is Dec 18, with a hard deadline of Dec 28. It’s OK if you receive the items after Dec 28, as long as they’ve been paid in advance. Be sure to spend ALL the money, down to zero.
As a reminder, please thank the Governor in your press releases, newsletter articles, social media posts, etc, about this project. See the box at left for a press packet and press release template.
The purpose of this funding is to make progress to reach the Governor’s goal of 75% capacity in the library, and specifically to provide connectivity access via Wifi or public computers to remote learners and patrons working from home. Ideally, you must exhaust all options for interior capacity (PPE, cleaning, HVAC, touchless fixtures, movable furniture etc.) before opting for exterior access or mobile access for the large library systems. All expenses should support the Governor's goal.
Libraries must notify Dawn La Valle by November 18 if they are unable to expend the funds by the deadline of December 28.
Libraries may spend their grant funds in the following categories, ordering in bulk or pre-paying as needed:
Ineligible expenses: staff, online collection resources (ebooks, e-audio, databases), websites, reimbursements for previous expenses, sales tax
Please contact Dawn La Valle with questions about eligible expenses at email@example.com.
More Qs and A's will be added regularly! Last updated Dec 8.
1. How do I set up an ACH account to get my grant money transferred quickly to my bank account?
Visit the State Comptroller's page to set up a Direct Deposit (ACH) account, using the Enrollment Form either for Companies (association libraries) or Towns (municipal libraries). Follow the instructions on the form for submission.
2. Do I actually have to spend all the money by Dec. 30, or I can I just encumber it for future expenses?
The grant funds must be spent by that date. The state fiscal department will not accept encumbrances of the funds.
3. Do I need to get bids or quotes for expenses?
No, although it's generally best practice to compare at least three quotes.
4. How did you arrive at these grant amounts?
We used the formula for State Aid grants as set forth in state statute (CGS 11-24b), but with a base amount of $20,000 per library instead of $1,200.
5. Can I use this grant to pay for past purchases?
No, it can be used only for future purchases, between October 12 and December 30. You can't use it to reimburse the library or municipality.
6. Do you have a press packet I can adapt for my library?
Yes, the press packet, available in the Documents box to left, contains a press release from the State Library, a template press release that you can customize for your library, and a two-page overview of the grant program.
7. My town is orange or red on the state's map showing the average daily rate of new cases of COVID-19. What should I do in terms of the grant?
Keep spending your grant funds, looking toward future months when your local rate will be lower, and follow the guidance from your local health district.
8. How do I track WiFi use?
Check out these suggestions from the state data coordinator in Colorado.
9. How do I build a splash page for my WiFi?
Most commercial grade routers or access points have this capability built in. In the router admin software, look for "hotspot" settings or the "captive portal" feature. Here's an article with one method for setting up a captive portal on your WiFi router or access point.
10. What are the deadlines again?
11. Will the grant pay for shipping & handling? Installation? Sales tax?
Yes to shipping & handling and installation. No to sales tax.
You can use the vendors of your choice. The information provided below is not an endorsement or recommendation of these companies or services; these are merely places to start your search.
Recommendations from fellow librarians:
Get on the phone to vendors to negotiate prices.
Information from specific vendors:
According to an email sent to Dawn in Oct. 2020: "PPE Outlet USA is a Connecticut based company, listed on the State of CT DECD Approved List of PPE Suppliers, with a large supply of PPE products in stock at special low pricing for libraries and municipalities. We supply PPE to the State of Connecticut as well as many other government agencies, healthcare organizations, schools, and businesses. Below is a list of our PPE products that may be of interest to your organization:"
In Stock & Ready to Ship:
"If you are interested, please feel free to reach out to me with any questions. I would be happy to work with you on a quote and can provide you with any samples you may need."
According to an email sent to Maria on Oct. 17, 2020: "GDI (Green Dream International) is registered in many States, Counties and Cities. GDI has also been supplying ISDs in many areas from the LA Unified School District; the Nation’s second largest all the way to New York and Florida. In some cases we are providing PPE equipment to school districts of an entire county such as the 33 school districts in Wayne County in Michigan (see awarded RESA Contract). GDI would be honored to provide its support to your institution too.
"Main items we have in stock and/or are providing in bulk quantities include: Face Masks, Gloves, Gowns, Sanitizers & Wipes, Thermometers & UV Disinfectant Cabinets.
"Please [contact us] if you are in need of any of these items in small or large quantities or purchase them from our online store."
National Sales Team
GDI (Green Dream International - DUNS: 831374546)
Address: 32 W. 8th St. Suite No 607, Erie, PA 16501
Tel: 814-840-1880 Ext: 117
Email sent to Maria on 11/2: Burnishine Products, https://www.burnishine.com/, 1585 Greenleaf Ave, Elk Grove Village IL 60007. firstname.lastname@example.org. "Sanitize and Disinfect with our commercial grade wipes, cleaner and hand gel. Affordable, Adjustable Full Face Shields. CDC Sanitizing Cleaner. Disinfecting Wipes - Large Size"
Email sent to Maria on 11/11: Screenflex.com has portable and freestanding room dividers, including some in clear plexiglass. "Instead of cluttering up your desk with a tabletop divider, this partition rests on the floor allowing more workspace."
Connecticut State Library | 231 Capitol Avenue, Hartford, CT 06106 | 860-757-6500 * Toll-free 866-886-4478
The State of Connecticut is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer and strongly encourages the applications of women, minorities, and persons with disabilities.