Frequently Asked Questions: Adult and Family Literacy Grant Program, 2013-2016

Q. Who is eligible?

A: Public library systems.

Q. Who may be used as a required partner for Adult Literacy projects?

A: Adult Literacy only: The program must be operated in direct coordination with a partner from among the following: public schools, colleges and other organizations which are operating similar adult literacy programs.

Q. Are member libraries considered partners?

A. For the required partner for an Adult Literacy grant, see explanation above.  Generally, for both Adult Literacy and Family Literacy, any collaborating library or agency may be considered a partner.

Q. May a literacy agency be a part of more than one grant application?

A. Yes

Q. Are organizations or educational institutions that provide literacy services eligible to submit Grant applications?

A. No. Only public library systems may submit applications.

Q. Is equipment that helps to provide literacy services an allowable cost? 

A. Equipment purchased in support of a project is an eligible expense. If the unit cost is $5,000 or more, it is itemized in the Equipment budget category. If the unit cost is less than $5,000, it is itemized under Supplies and Materials.

Q. May tablets, eReaders, Kindles, Nooks, iPads, Playaways, Playaway Views, and Wii U consoles be purchased with grant funds?

A. Any or all of these products must fit into an acceptable grant proposal.  They must be used to meet the grant requirements of the:

  • Adult Literacy Library Services Grant Program/Workforce Development at New York Public Libraries through Public Library Systems
  • Family Literacy Library Services Grant Program/Summer Reading at New York Libraries through Public Library Systems.

While it is not required that all tablets, eReaders, etc. must be accessible, the State Library recommends as much accessible equipment as possible.  Overall, the same content and library service must be available to persons with disability as is available to persons without a disability.

In the mix could be:

  • iPads or iPods, which are accessible right out of the box because they come with voice-over software.
  • Kindles, Nooks, and other tablets have some audible capabilities. 
  • There is a Kindle keyboard available for visual impairments.
  • Ideally the products would have adjustable font size.
  • ZoomText software is available to enhance seeing and hearing what is on the products.
  • There are a variety of apps available.
  • Other types of products that use digital downloads are:
  • Playaways should have large print instructions available.
  • Wii U consoles are not accessible

You may also want to use or promote the New York State Talking book and Braille Library (TBBL). TBBL lends Braille and recorded books to eligible residents of upstate New York.

The site also provides valuable information on assistive technology.

Q. How does an applicant decide which budget category to use for project personnel?

A. Grant funds may NOT be used for personnel costs (salaries and/or benefits).

Q. May overhead and administrative costs that are already part of library operations be paid for through a Literacy Library Services grant?

A. These costs are not eligible for funding through this program.

Q. My system board is not meeting again until after the January 31, 2013 deadline. Does the Board Certification have to be submitted with the application or may it be submitted later?

A. If necessary, you may submit the Board Certification during February if: 1) you submit a statement with the application as to the board's next meeting date and 2) let us know that the certification will be submitted during February.

Q. May an applicant purchase services from a collaborating (partner) agency to support the project activities?

A. Yes. The applicant may contract with the agency to deliver services that support project activities. Contract cost is entered in Budget Code 40: Purchased Services. 

Q. If our building needs to make changes to accommodate the literacy project, will the grant fund associated construction costs?

A. The grant will not fund construction costs. However, supplies, materials and equipment that are needed in the new area to provide project services are eligible for funding.

Q. Our project includes the purchase of computers. Do we need to worry about filtering and CIPA (Children’s Internet Protection Act)?

A. Filtering of computers in public libraries is not required by New York State Education Law. Education Law § 260(12) does require that public libraries establish policies concerning patron use of public access computer terminals. Any public library that offers public computing should already have such a policy in place. Federal CIPA requirements do not apply to these projects.

Q. Is it permissible to purchase materials one grant year and use them at the end of that grant year and into the next year(s) and perhaps beyond?

A. Yes, materials purchased in one grant year may be used over the entire grant cycle of three years and beyond.  This may be necessary or desirable for the continuity of the program/grant.

Adult Literacy

Q. If a public library system’s central library has been successful in job preparation, can the public library system rely on the library to continue activities?

A. That would be considered a subcontract (Code 40 expenses) and it would be up to the public library system whether they want to be involved in the project.  All subgrantees must report to the public library system and must follow the same guidelines.

Q. Are we allowed to purchase an electronic resource to deliver resources for a workforce prep project?

A. Yes, as long as it is part of a project. 

Q. In the past, the bulk of my budget was for staff since there is such a strong programming component with this grant.  For Year 1, most of my budget will now go for equipment.  Is this okay?

A.  Yes.

Q. I am partnering with the school district.  Is it okay to contract with the school district to provide a teacher for classes in the library?

A. Yes.

Q. Am I correct in assuming that these grants are no longer competitive?  As long as we meet the guidelines, we will get the allowance for our system?

A. Yes.

Q. What is the definition of an adult?

A. An adult is someone over 16 who is not enrolled in public or nonpublic school as a full-time student.

Q. What is the definition of a “required partner” organization?

A. Literacy New York.

Q. Are community agencies considered partners; e.g., DOL?

A. Yes; e.g., a community center that works with job centers or kids not enrolled in school working on their GED.

Note: PCCs have developed many community partnerships; contact them for ideas.  Many PCC libraries have purchased services from DOL One Stops.  Whether staff or training or materials, they are sometimes providing the services for free. 

See the DLD web site for more information about

Q. Can community centers charge for services?

A. Yes, as long as there is no charge for the end user.  For example, community centers can charge the public library system for services such as a facility fee or an equipment fee.

Q. Would it be possible for a BTOP library to contract with a public library system?

A. That would be acceptable as long as the purpose of the project is digital literacy (relating to adult literacy and the target audience).

Family Literacy

A. What is the definition of a caregiver?

A. A caregiver is anyone who is taking care of a child.

Q. What about the teens?  Must programs include a parent or caregiver?

A. The overall goal is to provide programs for children and their caregivers.  The program must have a family component to comply with the law that provides the funding for the projects.

Q. What about something intergenerational; e.g., book buddies, a book group where parents read the original book and teens read the junior version?

A. That would meet the requirements.  If you have a question about how the program will fit into the guidelines, contact Barbara Massago via telephone 518-486-4885 or e-mail before you get too far into project development.

Q.  Can we provide bookmarks; e.g., bookmarks that contain nursery rhymes?

A. If they are part of the program that your are providing and, therefore, are promoting the program, that would be acceptable.

Q.  Can some of the money be used to purchase prizes/incentives for patrons?

A.  Educational items that promote the program (or are used as part of the program) are acceptable.

Q. We are considering a project to support the Common Core, working with two or three libraries on collection development.  How can we pull it together?

A. As far as the Common Core and nonfiction related to teens is concerned, the project must be geared toward supporting the Summer Reading program and must have a family component.  The collection development cannot stand alone—it must be in relation to the project.

Q.  What funds may be used to cover a program held in August 2013?

A.  Only Family Literacy funds may be used since the LSTA activity period runs from December 1, 2012 to July 31, 2013 and the Family Literacy activity period runs from July 1, 2013 to June 30, 2014.

Q.   Is food an allowable expense?

A. If food is used to promote the program or as part of the program, it would be an allowable expense and covered under Supplies and Materials (Code 45). Please contact Barbara Massago via telephone 518-486-4885 or e-mail to discuss individual circumstances.

Q. Can the grant funds be spent on items:  that decorate the library, a collection of reading materials and/or on promotional items?

A. No. The LSTA summer reading mini grants and Family Literacy grants are designed to improve our library services to youth and their caregivers.

Q. Are the final report forms for the Family Literacy grants online?

A. Yes.


Q. Who do I contact with problems regarding user name and/or password?

A. For user name and/or password problems, contact Jeffrey Kirkendall via telephone 518-486-1330 or e-mail.

Q. Can passwords be shared between Adult Literacy Program and Family Literacy Program?

A. YES, if your system already has user names and passwords for Family Literacy, you can use the same for Adult Literacy.

Q. Is there a space limit or word limit for the narrative sections of the application? 

A. No. Clarity is most important.

Q. How specific do we need to be in the budget narrative?  I am planning on purchasing performers or presenters to provide programs at each of the libraries, but I am not sure as of yet who they will be.

A.  You do not need to know now specifically who the performers or presenters will be, but do include information on what type of performer or presenter and how that person fits into the grant.

Q.  Do we need to fill out the project budget for all three years now?

A.  Yes, you can always amend the project budget if necessary.

Q.  The FS-10s are submitted with their category code amounts left blank, since these code amounts will be filled in at the Division of Library Development once a final award amount has been determined. Do we just need to have the forms signed?

A. Yes.

Q: I cannot save my Budget page, I get an error message that reads “Errors have been detected. Please correct the following errors in order to save.”

A: All required fields for each budget record need to be filled in before you click the Save button.

If you have 2, 3, or more ‘blank’ budget records, you MUST fill in data for each of those budget records, and then click the Save button. For example, if you clicked the link to ‘Add year 1 record’, then clicked the link to ‘Add year 2 record’, and then clicked the link to ‘Add year 3 record’– you now have 3 blank budget records on your screen. All fields in all three budget records need to be filled-in, and then Saved.

Or, delete the extra budget records, and just ‘Add a record’, type in your data, and then ‘Save’ one budget record at a time.

Q: I click the ‘Submit’ button on the Checklist page to submit my application, but the ‘Confirm Submission’ page has warning messages about my budget or narratives.

A: After the ‘Submit’ button is clicked, you will be taken to the ‘Confirm Submission’ page. A warning message will list any narratives you did not fill out and Save. You need to go back to the Application Narratives page, and fill out a narrative for each section of the application (Example: 1a. Summary Description, 2a. Project Need/Target Audience, 2b. Long-range Plan, etc.)

The ‘Confirm Submission’ page will display a warning message if the Project Budget ‘Amount Requested’ field is not within the minimum/maximum amount allowable for each fiscal year.

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Last Updated: May 24, 2017 -- asm; for questions or comments contact Barbara Massago