The New York State Library, a unit of the Office of Cultural Education within the New York State Education Department, has received a federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) Broadband Technology Opportunity Program (BTOP) award in the Public Computer Center category as part of Round One funding from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). Federal stimulus funding of $8,368,143 and $5,418,370 in matching funds will be used to create public computer centers (PCCs) in 30 public libraries and 5 E-mobile computer training units. This project will enable public libraries to extend hours, upgrade connectivity, add more than 800 new public computer workstations, and provide access to 24/7 job search resources in 41 economically distressed upstate New York counties. More than 6 million New York residents will be served through this initiative.
BTOP Public Computer Center Criteria and Project Goals:
- Increase public access to high speed broadband services in high-need communities
- Serve vulnerable populations (unemployed, underemployed or other vulnerable populations: non-English speakers, seniors, disabled, etc.)
- Provide technical support and other resources to support job search and career advancement through community anchor institutions such as libraries
- Advance the use of E-services for training, employment, digital literacy, and education
- Stimulate employment and provide job opportunities
The BTOP-determined allocation chart
Grant funds may only be spent for the following items and activities:
- Purchasing and installing equipment necessary for the Public Computing Centers (PCCs) including: desktop and laptop computers; related peripherals such as printers, scanners, digital cameras, video projectors and portable LED projectors, headsets, webcams, microphones; wireless devices; wireless modem cards; videoconferencing units; batteries and battery-chargers;
- Purchasing and installing equipment to meet standard universal design requirements to accommodate persons with varying disabilities;
- Equipment, fees, connectivity costs and technical support for broadband connectivity;
- Computer workstation furniture;
- In-State travel costs directly related to the project;
- Computer software and licenses directly related to the project;
- Salaries and benefits for PCC staff- managers, trainers, technicians, drivers;
- PCC-specific supplies and materials;
- Conference calls and webinars directly related to the PCC project;
- Publicity and promotion of PCCs;
- Expenses directly related to the PCC E-mobile units.
Grant Activity Period
The grant activity period is May 1, 2010 through September 30, 2012.
Libraries must fulfill all State Library, State Education Department, and federal quarterly reporting requirements in order to receive continued funding during the grant activity period, in addition to developing outreach, evaluation, and sustainability plans.
Applications must be received in the New York State Library Division of Library Development offices by May 30, 2010.
Applicants are required to use an outcome-based evaluation approach (OBE) for measuring the results of projects whose activities involve proposed changes in participants’ knowledge, skill, attitude or behavior.
For more about this type of evaluation, see the State Library’s OBE web site.
Some possible outcomes, based on the types of projects mentioned above, follow:
- Participants achieved success or changed behavior in measurable ways
- New library users identified as a result of project
- Library services and programs changed as a result of evaluation
- Evaluation data demonstrated that assessed needs were met
- Library staff improved skills in working effectively with target groups
- Users identified successful results when using online job resource databases
- New and successful partnerships established
Applications for the Broadbandexpress@yourlibrary Grant Program are covered by all the conditions of application, expenditure of funds, and federal assurances that govern ARRA grant programs. Some specific points are noted below.
Applications should be received by the State Library by May 30, 2010. No faxed or electronic applications will be accepted as an original copy of an application. The application should have answers to all questions and include all necessary supplemental forms as well as the long budget FS-10 form, the assurance form, and the match verification form.
If using an overnight or express mail service, applicants should use only United Parcel Service (UPS), Airborne Express or DHL Worldwide Express. These companies have complied with the State Education Department’s request that all deliveries be made directly to the addressee. Federal Express and the United States Postal Service are not providing addressor to addressee service. Keep this in mind if you plan to use express mail. Experience in receiving applications has shown that it is unwise to depend on express mail the day before the deadline.
Forms & Assurances
The long budget form, FS-10 and other applicable forms are on the State Library’s website along with other required forms and assurances. The Authentication Form is signed by the Board President while the other forms are signed by the Library Director or the appropriate fiscal person.
Participants are required to match grant funds with an in-kind match amount. A signed match verification form is one of the documents required to be submitted as part of the application.
Participants must keep track of matching funds on a monthly basis to ensure such funds can be accurately reported according to federal reporting requirements.
Requesting Funds and Reporting Expenditures
Funds will be paid out as follows: Upon the submission and approval of the FS10 long form, funds will be paid out monthly based on the monthly submission of FS25 forms. Applicants should maintain documentation supporting fund requests that is available for review by SED staff and other authorized individuals.
Grant applicants should become familiar with the SED Grants Finance Department’s Fiscal Guidelines and Cash Management policy (based on federal regulations). Applicants should implement internal controls in accordance with these guidelines.
Applicants file the FS-10F (final expenditure report) with the New York State Library's Division of Library Development, according to the address on the form.
Quarterly reports according to ARRA and SED guidelines and procedures are required to receive continued funding.
Interest Earned from ARRA Funds
ARRA funds must be kept in interest-bearing accounts. Amounts up to $250 per year may be retained by the library for administrative purposes. Amounts above $250 must be returned to the State Library for return to ARRA.
Questions concerning Broadbandexpress@yourlibrary should be directed to Mary Linda Todd, State Library Grant Administrator, at 518-486-4858.