With the passage of the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA), Wyoming has received $2.1 million in funds from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) for pandemic response.
With the help of a task force with members from all types of libraries, the Wyoming State Library has developed a plan to use these funds to benefit the state’s libraries.
“We wanted to be sure as we moved forward that we were fully aware of what our libraries need on the ground,” said Jamie Markus, Wyoming State Librarian. “We’re pleased with the work of the task force and the valuable insight they provided.
For collection access, WYLD member libraries will see their annual fees covered from April 2021 through September 2022 and their consortium fees paid for FY22 and FY23. This will free up local money for whatever pandemic response is needed by each library.
Digital collections will get a boost. The Wyoming State Library will purchase OverDrive content for the Wyoming Virtual Library. Community colleges and the University of Wyoming will have the option of purchasing academic vendor e-content instead.
The Fort Washakie School and Community Library will receive funds for their physical collections. The 13 state institution libraries will receive funds for the same purpose above their usual annual stipends.
School libraries will also receive funds for physical collections as well as e-resources and 15 months of TeachingBooks.net. Investment in schools forms a significant portion — approximately one-fifth — of planned ARPA expenditures. The Wyoming State Library called on a representative group of school librarians, working with WSL School Library Consultant Paige Bredenkamp, to set priorities for this important part of the library community.
Finally, workforce development in response to pandemic job and business loss, forms another large piece of the plan. The state library plans to fund LinkedIn Learning for FY22 and acquire 15-month, non-continuing subscriptions to Gale Business: Plan Builder and Gale Legal Forms. Significant funds are allocated to promote these resources so that Wyoming residents will be aware and will fully access them.
All expenditures fall under the state library’s five-year-plan for Library Services and Technology Act funds, and all ARPA funds must be expended by September 30, 2022.