The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) has provided the New York State Library with $6.2 million in federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds through the LSTA Grants to States Program. The State Library has allocated $5.5 million of these federal funds to New York State’s nine regional Reference and Research Library Resources Councils for collaborative regional projects that will advance digital inclusion, encourage library/museum partnerships, and expand student access to digital resources. The official press release from NYSED can be found here.
METRO has received $450,000 of ARPA funding that will be dedicated to a competitive grant program that builds partnerships between museums and libraries in the wake of the global pandemic. Check back soon: we are still designing the program, but this fall METRO will make an open call and promote a competitive process for granting these funds to eligible partners and their projects.
The Opportunity in the METRO Region
Over the course of the last year, many children and young adults have missed an entire year of school. Attempts to transition learning into an online or hybrid experience had mixed results, and families in less affluent communities were disproportionately affected as schools struggled to adjust their models. Museums and libraries are an essential part of their local communities and the educational ecosystem. They bring accessible cultural heritage resources and self-guided, informal, and recreational learning opportunities to their communities. We believe that these institutions, particularly through their concerted efforts, are key to the reignition of children’s and young adults’ interest in learning amidst and after this dark time, and that they provide a unique and engaging choice for all families.
Successful program proposals will pair a community library with a museum educator or education department. Both of these organizations must be in NYC or Westchester County. Groups of more than two organizations are welcome to apply. This funding opportunity is open to libraries and archives of all types: public, academic, museum, and any others. The museums must be chartered, but museums of all types are eligible. Strong proposals will demonstrate potential to offer new learning opportunities for youth and families, and will speak directly to the impact these opportunities will have in their local community. For more details about what kind of libraries and museums are eligible for the funding, please refer to the NYS Guidelines tab.
Digitization projects are not eligible for this grant: if this activity is of interest to you, please see METRO’s Equity in Action grant and watch for our upcoming Digital Grant Program, both of which are meant to support that work. Projects that build programming around previously digitized or born-digital resources, whether those are museum collections that are already published online, or collections of library ebooks, or anything else, are eligible and encouraged. Successful proposals will offer new program designs and partnerships that directly address learning loss during the pandemic, or will they will reframe and rethink existing work.
Project Ideas and Examples
These ideas are not meant to limit applicants, they are only meant to get your creative juices flowing. Given the timeline for spending these funds, libraries are strongly encouraged to work with partner organizations that they are already familiar with or they were already planning to work with. If you have an idea and you aren't sure if it is eligible or if it fits the spirit of this opportunity, email firstname.lastname@example.org or attend one of our three information sessions this November.
- Take an existing partnership and program, and adjust it for a new audience.
- Think creatively about bringing collections into communities: make a circulating kit from a popular program or exhibit.
- Build a program online that deepens engagement with digital collections.
- Support learning through curation: work with an audience to build their own digital exhibits using library and museum resources
- Support learning through analysis and reflection: work with an audience to write about, annotate, or remix library and museum resources
- Adjust your work and take it outside this winter!