Governor John Carney recently announced that $40 million in American Rescue Plan Act funding will be distributed to libraries in all three counties.
The investments are funded by the American Rescue Plan Act Capital Relief Fund, which was championed by the Delaware congressional delegation, US Senator Tom Carper and Senator Chris Coons, as well as Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester. ARPA was passed by Congress and then signed into law by President Joe Biden on March 11, 2021.
Capital relief projects under ARPA must meet strict criteria to be eligible for funding. They may include projects that specifically monitor work, education, and health, and respond to issues created or exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The US Treasury Department has approved Delaware’s plans to invest in statewide libraries. Additional ARPA-funded capital awards will be announced shortly.
“Children and families will benefit from these investments for generations to come,” Carney said. “Delaware Libraries serve our communities with resources, collaboration and creativity. Many of these investments are in our communities hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic has reinforced the central role libraries play in our communities as centers for job training, job search, education, distribution of COVID-19 test kits and vaccination sites. . I want to thank the Congressional delegation for their advocacy and look forward to seeing meaningful results from these investments.
“Our libraries are much more than a place to consult books. They are truly gateways for learning and discovery, and allow our communities to come together and access so many vital services,” said Lieutenant Governor Bethany Hall-Long. “I am so proud of the incredible contributions our libraries continue to make to our communities. Delaware’s libraries are setting an example for others in the fight against COVID-19 and serving to make our state stronger and healthier.
“When we invest in our libraries, we really help someone find a job, give the community a safe place to gather and learn, and give people access to resources they wouldn’t normally have. said Carper.
“Investing in our libraries opens the next chapter for greater public education, social upliftment, and principled commitment to helping Delawares fight the COVID-19 pandemic,” Coons said.
“Whether giving Delawares access to countless literary titles, serving as a meeting place for local organizations, or serving as an inspirational zone for the arts and humanities, libraries are essential to the well-being of our communities,” said Blunt Rochester. .
The announced $40 million investment will improve nine libraries across the state. This funding will be used for new construction and improvements to existing structures downstate, including: $3 million to the Rehoboth Beach Public Library for upgrades; $750,000 to the Lewes Public Library for a new outdoor pavilion; $250,000 to the Georgetown Public Library for HVAC, filtration and ventilation updates; $900,000 to the Milford Public Library for HVAC, filtration and ventilation updates; $7 million to the Selbyville Public Library for a new building; and $5.6 million to the Harrington Public Library for a new building.
“Governor. Carney’s strategic investment in libraries supports equity for communities across the state,” said Dr. Annie Norman, State Librarian. “Delaware libraries are ready to go to strengthen social services infrastructure for digital equity, workforce development and more statewide.”
The Governor’s Recommended Fiscal Year 2023 Bond Bill announced in late January includes $26.8 million in additional state funding to match federal funding for the five new libraries.