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ARPA Funds at Work in Oklahoma

Thanks to the 2021 American Rescue Plan Act, the Oklahoma Department of Libraries received more than $2.8 million to address the needs of Oklahoma’s libraries, literacy programs, museums, and tribal libraries/cultural centers. The funds were administered on the federal level by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, which set the grant criteria for all state and territorial library agencies.

$200 million was granted to IMLS to help America’s vital library and museum services respond to the pandemic and to act as a stimulus for communities as they began recovery from the public health crisis. ODL and its sub-grantees must complete expenditures by December 31, 2022.

Targeted Grants to Institutions

$1,449,685 in grants to 101 public libraries has funded a diverse array of items and projects to protect public health and assure continued services, including: cleanable furniture, network enhancements and Wi-Fi expansion, connectivity devices, online subscription services, video conference capabilities, health and wellness materials, and temporary staffing. Completed

$335,399 in grants to 40 museums and 8 tribal libraries/cultural centers has provided these institutions with equipment and capabilities to improve both in-house and virtual visits: PPE, digitization of collections, network enhancements, and temporary staffing. Completed

$92,685 in grant funding to 16 adult literacy programs is keeping tutors and adult learners connected. Grants funded connectivity devices for virtual learning and maintenance of communication between tutor and student, outreach efforts to rebuild local volunteer corps and student enrollment, online subscriptions to learning resources, and cleanable tutoring stations. Completed


$33,489 for ARPA Administration. ODL is already responsible for administering $2 million+ every year in federal library funding through the IMLS Grants to States Program. The ARPA dollars more than doubled the agency’s annual federal fund pot, so extra assistance was called for. Funds were used to purchase a year of Foundant, a grants management solution ODL has used to administer ARPA and regular IMLS grants. Funds were also used to pay for a temporary administrative assistant to work with the ARPA projects. In Progress

eMedia Grant

$40,000 to Stillwater Public Library to purchase additional e-materials to support the Oklahoma Virtual Library Consortium. The pandemic years saw an explosion in electronic checkouts at Oklahoma libraries as the health crisis caused library closures and reduced in-person visits. Stillwater Public is the lead agency for the consortium which provides e-Books and audio books to the patrons of 103 public and tribal libraries. Completed

Online Adult High School

$24,600 to Gale Excel High School to purchase 30 seats in the fully-accredited online high school diploma program for adults. The seats have been distributed among six pilot sites: Southern Oklahoma Library System, Tulsa City-County Library System, Ada Public Library, Elk City Carnegie Library, Lawton Public Library, and Miami Public Library. Just a few months in, the program has already celebrated two graduates. This project will continue in the future under a different format using other funds. Completed

Statewide Online Resources

$155,000 to Brainfuse for a statewide license. ARPA funds were used to purchase the first six-months of an annual statewide contract with Brainfuse, which offers live homework help, live job and career help, and live assistance navigating VA benefits. The service is available to all Oklahomans through their local public library’s website. Other IMLS funds will pay for the rest of the fiscal year and will fund future access to the service. Completed

Early Literacy

$110,000 for Ready2Read. In partnership with Friends of Libraries in Oklahoma, ODL purchased books and presentation materials to promote early literacy skills in the collections and programming of 30 public libraries. The libraries are receiving training from noted Oklahoma early literacy advocate and storyteller Valerie Kimble. Libraries are also receiving grants of $2,000 to purchase additional early literacy materials for their collections. In Progress


$75,500 in ARPA funds are purchasing materials for correctional institutions and veterans facilities across Oklahoma. Titles are being chosen to assist with healthcare, workforce development and educational needs. In Progress


$100,000. In partnership with Oklahoma Complete Health and Oklahoma State University, ODL identified three locations to pilot Telehealth Hubs: Tulsa City County Library System, the City of Okemah/Okemah Public Library, and the Kiowa Tribe. Grant funds are being used to purchase the telehealth hubs and any equipment required to maintain the hubs and complete telehealth visits. In Progress

Multifunction Printers

$38,025 provided grants of up to $1,000 to 38 libraries to improve their printing, faxing, and scanning capabilities for patrons. The libraries are using the grants to purchase multifunction printers as well as toner/ink. In Progress

Images of Oklahoma

$45,000 in ARPA funds are being used to digitize approximately 350 microfilm rolls of tribal allotment registers (work completed by Oklahoma Historical Society). Additional funds are being used to digitize, edit and create metadata for documents and publications provided by organizations participating in ODL’s Images of Oklahoma digitization project. Funds are also being used to purchase selected publications and webinars for participating libraries. In Progress

Leading in an Emergency

$30,945.82 funded four in-person Emergency Preparedness Workshops, three Emergency Preparedness webinars, and six sessions of the Mindful Leadership During Times of Crisis webinar series. ODL partnered with the Oklahoma Museums Association and Meridian Technology Center to bring this educational opportunity to staff working in libraries, museums, and tribal cultural centers. Completed

Online Education for Librarians

$12,924 purchased a statewide subscription to Ryan Dowd’s Homeless Training Institute ($8,424) and a subscription to Deque’s Deque University Document Accessibility Curriculum Package (80 users: $6,000). Completed

Professional Development

$122,000 is purchasing selected professional development publications and registrations to selected webinars and conferences for library, museum, and literacy program staff. So far, registration scholarships have been made to Oklahoma Museums Association Annual Conference, Mountain Plains Museum Association Annual Conference, and Oklahoma Literacy Coalition Annual Conference. In Progress

Educator Workshops

$40,000 were used to purchase 90 registration scholarships for the Oklahoma Science and Technology in Education (OKSTE) Annual Conference in early November. Funds are also being used to provide eight sessions and vendor space at the OKSTE Annual Conference. The sessions will promote ODL resources, including Images of Oklahoma, EBSCO reference and information databases, and Brainfuse. ODL will also present a one-day workshop at the Oklahoma History Center in October for Library Media Specialists serving Oklahoma City Public Schools. In Progress

Workforce Development Workshops

$5,500 funded two webinar sessions on “Attracting and Retaining Oklahoma’s Workforce,” presented by Abbey Davis, MBA, PHR, SHRM-CP, Assistant Professor of Professional Practice for Business Administration in the Spears School of Business at Oklahoma State University. Sixty-eight people attended. Completed

ODL In-House Projects

$22,262.90 for Web Migration. Funds were used to move ODL’s website to the new standard for State of Oklahoma agencies. This allowed ODL’s website to have enhanced capabilities and increased the overall accessibility of the site. Completed

$56,000 for Videoconference Maintenance. The pandemic has accelerated the acceptance and expectation of online access to meetings and presentations. To meet this demand, ODL is updating its videoconference equipment. In Progress

$50,000 for Security Cameras. ODL’s main building–the Allen Wright Memorial Library–has never had sufficient security cameras for monitoring and safety purposes. ARPA funds will help the agency rectify the situation. In Progress


Last Modified on Sep 28, 2022
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