The complete ARPA guidelines from the New York State Library can be found here.

Library/Museum Partnerships

The Library/Museum Partnerships initiative is intended to strengthen library/museum partnerships at the regional and/or local levels. Organizations are stronger when they work together with intention, to achieve a common goal or purpose. Plans should show how both primary project partners - libraries and museums - will be engaged in the work and how communities will benefit from the project.

Plans could focus on issues such as long-term sustainability, resilience efforts, preparing libraries and museums for future crises, establishing/reinforcing relationships between museum workers and library workers, reaching at-risk communities, and bridging the digital divide.

Plans will bridge and connect information, increase visual and material literacy, and may include activities that address objects-based learning. 

Sub awards 

Regional library councils may award funds to public library systems and school library systems. Regional library councils may also award funds to public libraries, school libraries, academic libraries, and not-for-profit special libraries that are members of a public library system, a school library system or a regional library council.  At least one eligible museum must be identified as a primary project partner (see below for the definition of eligible museum partner).

  • Funds may be sub awarded on a competitive basis and/or by a formula as predetermined by the 3Rs.
  • Inclusion of additional project partners is encouraged. Collaborative projects to address local and/or regional needs are encouraged.
  • Each lead library or library system applicant is required to submit project application, signed assurances and a final report to the 3Rs in order to receive these federal funds.
  • Lead applicant libraries and library systems may not in turn sub award funds to other entities. All project products and services must be procured directly by the lead library or library system.
Regional Library Council-Level Project(s)

The 3Rs may elect to serve as the eligible lead library system for one or more regional Library/Museum Partnership Project(s). Such projects must also include at least one eligible museum as a project partner. Inclusion of additional project partners is encouraged. Collaborative projects to address regional or statewide needs are encouraged. The 3Rs may not sub award funds to other entities for a regional project. All products and services must be directly procured by the 3Rs.

Definition of Eligible Museum Partner

The primary Museum partner must be a not-for-profit institution that possesses a Regents charter, that is incorporated by the Department of State, or that was established by the Legislature. For the purposes of these ARPA Guidelines, Museums are defined as organized non-for-profit institutions, including but not limited to halls of fame, zoos, aquariums, botanical gardens and arboretums, that is essentially educational or aesthetic in purpose, with professional 

staff, which ordinarily owns, exhibits, maintains, and/or utilizes artifacts, art, and/or specimens, including non-tangible electronic, video, digital and similar art, cares for them, and exhibits them to the public on some regular schedule. For the purposes of this ARPA funding, Museum also means a Historical society with collections, an organized not-for-profit institution, with purposes limited to a reasonable and clearly defined geographical area or to one or more specific subjects of interest, which gathers, preserves, advances or disseminates knowledge about the past through research, collections acquisition and management, preservation and/or interpretation, which carries on educational and public programs on a regular schedule, which makes its programs and resources accessible to the public, and which is appropriately and professionally staffed by paid and/or volunteer personnel who possess sufficient training and knowledge to meet the requirements of its mission and the needs of its collections. Questions about eligibility of a museum to participate as a primary project partner for this ARPA funding may be directed to

Selected examples of possible Eligible Projects for the Library/Museum Partnership Component within the federal IMLS ARPA guidelines include, but are not limited to:

Projects that consider the intersection of digital and physical programs and exhibits in a pandemic-aware manner, for example:

  • Improved infrastructure: creating platforms, tools, or systems for museums and libraries to create, manage, distribute, transform, share, reuse, and access their content
  • Learning through curation: work with an audience to build their own digital exhibits using library and museum resources

Projects that address audiences that were particularly impacted by COVID-19, for example:

  • Supporting P-12 education: Collaborative library/museum education projects that engage directly with P-12 teachers and students, such as projects focusing on next generation science standards
  • Career readiness: Career exploration opportunities for teens at libraries and museums, with a focus on STEAM
  • Ensuring that all communities are represented: All programming should include a Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Access component

Projects that explore new modalities for existing programs, for example:

  • Bring collections into communities: Make a circulating kit from a popular program or exhibit
  • Creative outreach: Find ways to take museum and library work outside, including pop-up festivals in the community showcasing libraries and museums