United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development Housing and Community Facilities Program – Designated Funding for Public Libraries

This American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Funding for Rural Libraries is a grant and/or loan opportunity for libraries serving communities of 20,000 and less. The Secretary of Agriculture has designated $100 million of USDA’s Community Facilities funds for public libraries. The stimulus funding will help give rural communities the opportunity to improve their library facilities, enhance educational opportunities, and improve economic conditions in America’s rural communities.

Loans and grants are available to public entities such as municipalities, counties, and special-purpose districts, as well as non-profit corporations and tribal governments. Applicants must have the legal authority necessary for construction, operation, and maintenance of the proposed facility. They must also be financially sound and able to organize and manage the facility effectively.

Funds may be used to construct, enlarge, or improve public libraries. This can include costs to acquire land needed for a facility, pay necessary professional fees, and purchase equipment required for a facility’s operation. Funds can be used to purchase shelving, furniture, computers, audio-visual equipment, distance learning equipment, and bookmobiles. A loan may be made in combination with other Community Facilities financial assistance such as a grant, applicant contributions, or loans and grants from other sources.

Applications are handled by USDA Rural Development field offices. Rural Development staff will be glad to discuss a community’s needs and the services available from USDA. Field staff can provide application materials and current program information, and assist in the preparation of an application. You may also visit their website at http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/
Interested applicants and lenders may also contact the Housing and Community Programs National Office staff at the following address:
USDA Rural Development, Community Programs Division, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-0700 Phone: (202) 720-1490; Fax: (202) 690-0471