ARPA Funding for Illinois Libraries

updated 6/16/2021

Libraries are eligible to receive an allocated portion of recovery funding as part of the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) of 2021 passed by Congress on Wednesday, March 10th, 2021. ALA and ILA are tracking the opportunities available through several government agencies for which libraries are eligible. 

ILA seeks to drill down to the state level and provide an index to opportunities for Illinois libraries. Please note: the definitive sources of information about funding opportunities from the following agencies are the agencies themselves, so please check the web pages and newsletter resources in the index below for the most current and detailed information. Each agency varies in its eligibility, criteria, deadlines, and dollar amount available.

General Federal Funding Requirements

IMLS/Illinois State Library

  • National amount: $200 million; $178 million distributed to states
  • Illinois amount: $4,742,647
  • How to access: TBA
  • More information: Please stay tuned for information from ISL and updates here

IMLS NEW! 6/16/2021 update

NEH/Illinois Humanities

  • National amount: $135 million
  • Illinois amount: $1 million + to Illinois humanities and cultural nonprofit organizations.
  • How to access: Via Illinois Humanities’ 2021 COVID-19 Emergency Relief & Recovery Grants program; application deadline 7/15/2021, 5 p.m. Applicants should be notified of funding decisions by 9/1/2021. Libraries are encouraged to apply; organizations with budgets up to $2 million are eligible. Two opportunities: General operating ($5,000-$10,000), and project-based ($5,000). Public libraries are eligible for both; schools and institutions of higher learning are eligible for the project ones, so school and academic libraries that are interested should work with their parent institution.
  • More info: Illinois Humanities hosted a COVID-19 Emergency Relief & Recovery Grants information session on Wednesday, 6/9/2021 at 1:00 p.m. Here is the recording. Here are the slides. Questions? Email  

NEA/Illinois Arts Council Agency

  • National amount: $135 million; $52 million to state agencies
  • Illinois amount: $933,100
  • How to access: TBA
  • More information: Sign up for NEA newsletter (ILA has!) at

 FCC Updated 6/16/2021

States & Local Governments/likely IL Dept. of Commerce and Economic Opportunity

  • National amount: $350 billion
  • Illinois amount: $8 billion + Of this: $2.46 billion will be allocated to Illinois counties, which can apply directly to Treasury $2.73 billion will be allocated to Illinois cities, which can apply directly to Treasury $742 million will be allocated to "non-entitlement" units of government (typically local governments with populations <50,000), which will need to apply via the state.
  • How to access: TBA; likely via DCEO. Special districts are “eligible for fund transfers.” According to the FAQ on the U.S. Treasury website, "Special-purpose units of local government will not receive funding allocations; however, a state, territory, local, or Tribal government may transfer funds to a special-purpose unit of government. Special-purpose districts perform specific functions in the community, such as fire, water, sewer or mosquito abatement districts." Municipal libraries should work with their municipality to receive a share of funds; district libraries should be able to apply directly to the state (but not directly to U.S. Treasury) OR work with their municipalities or county. This won't be known definitively until the state agency publishes its notice of funding opportunity.
  • More info: National Special Districts Coalition website at (see informational webinar presentation from 5/20/2021 in the "Background" folder on the "Advocacy Resources" page); DCEO regional contacts map


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