Thursday, June 11, 2015

LSTA Grant Schedule Changes

The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) is implementing significant changes to its Grants to States reporting system. "Grants to States" is the official name for Wisconsin's Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA)program. The reporting system is based on 50 states and U.S. territories obtaining considerable results from projects implemented on a twelve-month cycle. The LSTA is being considered for reauthorization this year, a process that occurs every five (5) years.

Time for Change with image of a clock
Time for Change
In a recent article, I indicated that the data coordinator for IMLS stated "...our sponsors want to know whether and how the support made a difference in people’s lives. Did it have a positive impact on the people who participated?” In order to provide grant recipients the best opportunity to obtain significant project results, the Division for Libraries and Technology (DLT) is changing the Federal grant award cycle from January-December, 2016 until April 1, 2016-March 31, 2017. That will allow recipients to have a full year for their projects, since federal grant awards frequently are delayed until February or March.

The importance of program renewal and the need to provide recipients sufficient time to implement projects caused the DLT to review the WI grant cycle. The LSTA grant program has run on a January-December calendar year since 1998. Public libraries, public library systems, and municipalities manage their budgets on this cycle. Prior to that time the program functioned on assorted calendar cycles including July 1-June 30 (school calendar year) and October 1-September 30 (federal calendar year).

April Calendar
April Calendar
IMLS is subject to the passage of U.S. Congressional budgets to run the federal government.  In recent years, budget agreements have been reached more frequently in February rather than October. This occurrence necessitates the distribution of grant awards to localities in March with the ending month in December.  This is significant because the amount of time a library or library system has to implement a grant awarded project is greatly reduced.Rather than a twelve-month grant period, libraries and library systems then have nine (9) months to implement their projects. Abbreviating the time of implementation does not allow grant recipients sufficient time for significant project results to report in final evaluations. For this reason, the 2016 grant awards will be implemented beginning April 1, 2016-March 31, 2017. 

Images courtesy of Pixabay

Written by
Terrie Howe, Public Library Development Team