Facilities & Capital Improvements

This page is the ICfL’s hub for resources related to library facilities and capital improvement projects. Whether you’re creating a building maintenance schedule, thinking of remodeling your children’s programming area, or building a whole new library, this is a good place to start.  

Please check back regularly, as we are still growing and expanding these resources! If you have any questions or needs that aren’t addressed here, please reach out to us so we can connect you with the resources and support you need.  

Facilities Improvement Grants

Pending approval from the 2023 state legislature, the ICfL will award $3.35 million in grant funds to public libraries for the purpose of improving and/or expanding library facilities. Below are the grant basics. Please see the expandable sections for more specific information (click on the + sign to expand or collapse each section).

  • What: This competitive grant will fund facilities improvements and capital projects that expand or enhance a library’s facilities and ability to serve their community. This includes construction costs. Projects must jointly enable work, education, and health monitoring.  
  • Who: This grant is open to tax-funded public libraries in Idaho, as defined in Idaho Code Title 33 Chapters 26 (city libraries) and Chapter 27 (district libraries). Libraries must be open to and serve the general public.
  • Award Amounts: Grant awards will range from $5,000 to $500,000. To ensure that small, medium, and large projects are given fair consideration, grants will be reviewed and awarded in three tiers, based on the size of the amount requested.
  • Application Process: Applicants must complete a two-part application process, submitting a letter of intent (open January 20 – February 27, 2023), followed by a full application (open April 3 – May 26, 2023). Applicants must submit a letter of intent in order to receive an invitation to apply and access to the full application.
  • General Timeline: The grant application process will run from January through May 2023. The ICfL will notify grant recipients in July 2023 and begin disbursing funds in August 2023. The grant performance period (when projects are carried out) will run for three years, from August 2023 to August 2026. All projects must be substantially complete by August 2026.
  • January 20, 2023: Letter of intent form opens for submissions. 
  • February 8, 2023: Webinar to discuss the grant, general questions, and specifics regarding letter of intent process. See event page for details. 
  • February 27, 2023: Letters of intent due (must include a signed letter from the library’s governing body). 
  • March 2023: Legislative budget hearings conclude (anticipated). The ICfL will know whether we can move forward with the facilities grant project. All milestones after this date are tentative and will depend on the legislature’s final approval of the ICfL budget.  
  • April 3, 2023: The ICfL sends the full grant application to libraries with qualifying letters of intent. Libraries will have 7.5 weeks to complete the application.  
  • Mid-April 2023 (TBD): Applicant webinar to discuss the grant and answer questions about the full application.  
  • May 26, 2023: Applications due.  
  • Early July 2023 (TBD): The ICfL notifies all applicants about whether they were selected for a grant. 
  • Early August 2023 (TBD): The ICfL begins disbursing funds to selected applicants. Please note that some applicants receiving larger grants in Tier 2 and 3 may not receive the full amount of their grant as a lump sum. Instead, they may receive a series of payments spread over the grant performance period.  
  • Mid-August 2023 (TBD): Grantee orientation webinar. 
  • August 2023 to August 2026: Grant performance period. Grantees will carry out their projects and may also be asked to submit periodic progress reports.
  • August 2026: Grant period closes. All grant funds must be expended, and all projects must be substantially complete.  

If approved through the 2023 legislative process, $3.35 million dollars will be available through the U.S. Treasury Department’s Capital Projects Fund for Idaho public libraries, issued as subgrants. Funds must be used for the construction or improvement of buildings designed to jointly and directly enable work, education, and health monitoring in communities with critical need for the project.

The subgrant process will be competitive and will require a comprehensive application. Funding will be awarded in tiers to accommodate libraries and projects of all sizes, budgets, and capacity.

  • Tier 1: Grants ranging in size from $5,000 to $25,000. We will award up to a total of $300,000 in Tier 1 grants.
  • Tier 2: Grants ranging from $25,001 to $150,000. We will award up to a total of $1,050,000 in Tier 2 grants.
  • Tier 3: Grants ranging from $150,001 to $500,000. We will award up to a total of $2,000,000 in Tier 3 grants.

The total number of grants awarded in each tier will depend on the dollar amounts requested by and awarded to selected grantees. This tiered approach will ensure that small, medium, and large projects are only competing against other projects of similar size and scope.

Funding Source & Citation:

Capital Projects Fund CFDA # 21.029 (CPF)Public Law 117-2. Title III Section 604 of the ARP Act (ARPA) established the Capital Projects Fund and provides $10 billion for Treasury to make payments to States, Tribes, Territories, and Freely Associated States to carry out critical capital projects that directly enable work, education, and health monitoring including remote options in response to the public health emergency with respect to COVID-19.

Funds must be used for the construction or improvement of buildings.

Funded projects must be substantially complete by August 2026. This means that the project is ready to fulfill the primary objectives that it was designed to perform, delivering services to end users.

Funded projects must remain in operations and available to the public for no less than five years after the close of the grant period.

Funded projects must be designed to jointly and directly enable the three areas of work, education, and health monitoring in communities with critical need for the project (although these activities need not be the exclusive function or purpose of the project). Here are the federal definitions of these activities:

  • Work: Activities to help community members engage in employment, search for employment, and/or develop the skills and knowledge to become employed (e.g., participate in career counseling programs, workforce training courses, job searches, etc.).
  • Education: Activities to acquire knowledge and/or skills, undertaken as part of a person’s participation in (but not limited to) school, an academic program, extra-curricular activity, social-emotional development program, internship, or professional development program.
  • Health Monitoring: Services to monitor an individual’s physical or mental health. These can include, but are not limited to, telehealth appointments and community health screening programs.

Allowable costs include those incurred to create, enhance, or expand the usable permanent interior or exterior space of the library, such that these improvements allow the library to meet one or more of following objectives:   

  • Accommodate a greater number of patrons in the conduct of qualifying programs and services, including (but not limited to) expanding the existing interior footprint of the facility or creating outdoor programming areas.
  • Accommodate a wider variety of uses related to work, education, and health monitoring, including (but not limited to) the creation of private, digitally enabled spaces for telehealth, job interviews, virtual training, and studying; the creation of flexible-use programming spaces; and creating or expanding spaces for the storage of related program supplies.
  • Accommodate a larger number and type of resources related to work, education, and health monitoring, including (but not limited to) the space and shelving to house expanded collections, both print and electronic.
  • Upgrade digital infrastructure (such as cables, networking equipment and hardware, power supplies and transformers, switch boxes, and connection points) to enhance the capacity of the library to support emerging and future technology and prevent obsolescence.

What are some examples of qualifying projects?

Qualifying projects can range from small ($5,000) improvements to major ($500,000) expansions. Examples include:

  • Adding/removing/moving interior walls
  • Adding a new room to an existing building
  • Conducting repairs to an otherwise unusable or unsuitable portion of a building
  • Purchasing new equipment or furniture to make existing or new spaces fully functional
  • Upgrading a building’s electrical wiring to accommodate new or expanded technology

Also allowable are costs related to carrying out the project, such as architectural reviews, professional services, and staff time spent planning and coordinating the project.

What are some examples of projects that aren’t allowable?

Projects that are not allowable include normal upkeep and maintenance, as well as changes that don’t improve or enhance how the space is used. This includes upgrades that are primarily cosmetic in nature (such as repainting a wall) and expenses normally associated with the regular upkeep and maintenance of an existing facility (such as a new roof or new siding).

Maintenance and repair expenses are allowable if they are necessary as part of a larger project to enhance or expand the library’s facilities – for example if the library must replace a portion of the roof in order to build out a new addition.

Do programming and collection development costs qualify?

This grant is not intended to support programming or collection development costs, except where those costs are directly related to meeting the requirement for work, education, and health monitoring in the space being enhance/created. These types of costs will be given lower priority in the overall consideration of proposed projects.

My library’s project is expensive. Will the ICfL consider a partial award if it is unable to fund our full request?

Yes, we will consider partial funding in cases where we wish to support a project but are unable to award the entire amount requested. In these cases, we will contact applicants in advance of issuing a grant agreement to determine if they wish to accept a reduced amount.

Can we combine this grant with other funding to carry out our project?

Yes. Funds from this grant can be combined with funds from other public and private sources to carry out your project. However, to qualify for this grant, the project must be substantially complete by August 2026, regardless of other funding sources. Substantial completion is defined as the date by which the project can fulfill the primary operations that it was designed to perform, including delivering services to end-users. At substantial completion, service operations and management systems infrastructure must be operational.

What are some ways my library can meet the requirement to jointly and directly enable work, education, and health monitoring?

Your library may already be supporting many of these activities! Some examples include hosting public programming like community health screenings, educational and literacy programming, and workforce training classes.

Other examples include establishing private spaces within the library to accommodate telehealth appointments and meetings with case workers or Department of Labor job services counselors.

Libraries may also use grant funds to create additional space or purchase shelving and equipment to house an expanded collection of print, electronic, and other resources related to work, education, and health monitoring.

If you are unsure whether your project meets this requirement, please contact us so we can answer your questions.

What if I still have questions about whether my library’s project qualifies?

Reach out to discuss your plans! You may be surprised to find your project qualifies. Contact ICfL Partnerships and Programs Supervisor Amelia Valasek at (208) 639-4138 or amelia.valasek@libraries.idaho.gov.

Why is the ICfL releasing this grant opportunity before funds have been secured? 

We want libraries to have the maximum amount of time to prepare their projects and to spend their grants, should these funds be approved. We also want to make sure libraries receive notification early enough in the summer to incorporate these grants into their annual budget planning process. The two-step application allows us to get this process started while the legislature is still in session, without requiring libraries to complete a full application until after the legislature has convened.

What happens if the state legislature does not approve using U.S. Treasury Department Capital Projects Funds for library projects?

The 2023 Idaho legislative session is the last opportunity for this funding to be approved and for these grants to move forward. If the state legislature fails to approve this item in the ICfL’s budget, the grant application process will be halted. We have designed the application timeline to minimize the impact of this possibility on library time and effort in the process. The ICfL will keep libraries updated on developments.

To be considered for funding, libraries must complete a two-step application process, which includes (1) submitting a letter of intent, followed by (2) a full application. The primary purpose of the letter of intent is to screen applicants and projects for basic eligibility and to gauge the overall level of interest in this grant for planning purposes. All projects that meet the qualifying eligibility requirements will be invited to submit a full application. Only applicants who have submitted a letter of intent will be given access to the application form. 

Letter of Intent – Due February 27

All libraries who wish to be considered for a Facilities Improvement Grant must submit a letter of intent using the form linked below. While this form should not take long to complete, it does require that libraries upload a signed letter of approval from their governing bodies. For this reason, we strongly encourage libraries to add this item to the agenda for their January/February board meeting. If the timing of your board meetings is not compatible with the due date for the letter of intent, please reach out to us as soon as possible so we can discuss options for meeting this requirement.  

Submitting a letter of intent does not obligate a library to complete the full application process. While the purpose of the letter of intent is to signal your intent to apply for this grant, we understand that circumstances can change. If your library submits a letter of intent and later declines to submit a full application, this will not affect your standing for other opportunities or grants with the ICfL.   

Application – Released in early April 2023

To give libraries the maximum amount of time to complete the full application, the ICfL intends to release the application the first week of April 2023.

Important: Availability of funds for this grant will be contingent upon legislative approval of the ICfL’s FY24 budget. We expect to know the status of that decision by late March, prior to the release of the full application. However, this timeline is tentative. It is possible our budget will not have received final approval from the legislature and governor at the time the application is released. We will keep libraries updated if this is the case.

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Facilities & Capital Improvement Resources

This section is still in development. Please check back as we continue to add resources. If you have a specific question about your facility or a capital improvement project, feel free to reach out to us directly.

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Amelia Valasek

Amelia Valasek

Partnerships and Programs Supervisor
Email / 208-639-4138
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