SLNC CARES Grant Program

The SLNC CARES application is closed.



The State Library of North Carolina received funding from the CARES Act (Public Law 116-136) through the Institute of Museum and Library Services to administer in accordance with our existing LSTA program. Funds will be used to support priorities of CARES Act legislation in alignment with the goals in our five-year plan

The purpose of CARES Act funding is to prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus, including to: 

  1. expand digital network access, 
  2. purchase internet accessible devices, and 
  3. provide technical support services.   

The SLNC CARES grant program includes EZ and Project applications.  EZ grants are small focused efforts to increase digital access.  Project grants are for larger, collaborative initiatives that leverage partnerships in local communities to address the digital divide.  The SLNC CARES grant program invites project proposals targeting high need communities that: 

  1. Primarily to address digital inclusion and related technical support, using the following types of data to inform targeted efforts:  
    • Poverty/Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)  
    • Unemployment 
    • Broadband availability;  
  2. Secondarily to address other efforts that prevent, prepare for, and respond to COVID-19; and 
  3. With respect to (a) or (b), reach museum and tribal partners, in addition to traditionally eligible library entities, where appropriate. 

High-need communities can be identified in your application by using the following types of data: 

  • Economic Indicators, including but not limited to: 
    • Poverty rates  
    • Supplemental Nutrition Access Program (SNAP) participation rates 
    • Unemployment rates  
  • Broadband availability and adoption 

As proposals are developed, applicants should explore and include relevant data for these and other variables including, but not limited to the following data sources: 

Eligible libraries 

North Carolina public libraries eligible for the Aid to Public Libraries Fund, community college, UNC system, and North Carolina Independent College and University (NCICU) libraries may submit one application for a SLNC CARES EZ Grant and one application for a SLNC CARES Project Grant.  


No project partners are required for the SLNC CARES EZ Grant. 


Maximum funds available to each library for the SLNC CARES EZ grant is $10,000.00. No matching funds are required for this program. 

Possible project ideas include, but are not limited to: 

  • Hotspots; including tablets and phones to use as hotspot 
  • Laptops/tablets/devices with data plans 
  • Extend or add additional WiFi coverage at your library or in the community 
  • VR/AR/XR devices for workforce development training 
  • Trained library staff and/or paid consultants to assist North Carolinians with digital literacy, workforce development and broadband adoption 

SLNC CARES Project Grants 

Project partners are required for the SLNC CARES Project Grant.  Potential project partners include, but are not limited to: 

  • Other libraries 
  • Museums 
  • Tribal partners 
  • Schools 
  • Digital inclusion organizations 
  • Other public or private entities 


Maximum funds available to each library for the SLNC CARES Project Grant is $75,000.00. No matching funds are required for this program. 

Important Dates 

  • Application closes July 15, 2020 
  • Awards announced by August 1, 2020 
  • Grant period starts August 15, 2020 
  • Grant period ends August 14, 2021 
  • Final Report and reimbursements due September 1, 2021 


Only complete applications will be considered.  Complete applications have all sections completed in the application and on the Online Signature Page.  Applications received after 11:59 pm on July 15, 2020 will not be considered.

  • Application targets a high need community. Description of the community to be served supported by appropriate, relevant community data.  
  • Application includes a well-defined benefit or planned benefit to patrons demonstrating it is user-focused. Application makes a compelling case as to why the project is needed in the community.  
  • Application provides a detailed description of the project, its goals, and its activities. Describe any collaboration planned with other community partner organizations, detailing benefits to the library and to the community partner organization. 
  • Application sets achievable, measurable outcomes, and presents a reasonable method to collect data. Applicant should present a method to count users of the services, as well as a method to  measure the effectiveness of the service.  Use of outcome-based evaluation (OBE) is recommended in addition to output data. 
  • Funds requested must be for reasonable, necessary, and allowable costs to achieve the project’s goals; the application should provide rationale to support how the proposed expenditures were determined and why each is needed to achieve the project goals.  
  • First priority will be given to applications that focus on digital inclusion efforts in high-need communities. If funds allow, projects to address other efforts to prevent, prepare for, or respond to COVID-19 will be considered (EZ-grant only)   

Allowable Expenses 

  • Consulting or contractual services; 
  • Evaluation to show the extent to which the project has met its goals; 
  • Accessories and supplies that are necessary to support the project; 
  • Hardware, software, and/or technology necessary to support the project; 
  • Salaries and benefits for temporary staff to be employed for the project OR temporary staff to be employed to cover duties of full-time personnel while the full-time person works on the project.  Temporary staff means part-time or full-time personnel hired specifically to help carry out the project, or additional hours for existing part-time staff.  The project description should clearly explain the need for added staff.  
  • Subscriptions and licenses within the grant period that support digital inclusion efforts;  
  • Travel and/or training expenses related to the project for library or project staff; and 
  • Indirect costs;  
  • Other expenses that are reasonable and necessary to support the project. 

Unallowable Expenses 

  • Activities or programs about advocacy, grant writing, or lobbying with a purpose of increasing funding and/or whose primary purpose is to establish a general message that 'libraries are good places and deserve to exist'; 
  • Architectural plans for existing or new buildings; 
  • Collection development activities, including electronic materials; 
  • Construction or pre-construction planning; 
  • Construction or renovation of facilities (generally, any activity involving contract labor in the construction trades is not allowable); 
  • Conventional arrangement, description, or cataloging of materials; 
  • Costs associated with content management systems (such as CONTENTdm); 
  • Digitizing runs of newspapers; 
  • Events, festivals, staff training, or acquisition of collections when any of these are the majority of requested funds; 
  • Fundraising costs; 
  • General advertising or public relations costs not specific to LSTA-funded activities; 
  • General operating support;  
  • Ongoing expenditures such as subscriptions, utilities, Internet access, or other services past the grant period; 
  • Pre-award costs; 
  • Promotional items and memorabilia including gifts, incentives, and souvenirs; 
  • Refreshments, entertainment, ceremonies, receptions, or social events; 
  • Salaries, wages, and/or benefits for existing full-time employees; 
  • Services or software licenses that extend beyond the project’s funding period; 
  • Sub-awards; and 
  • Other expenses prohibited by state or federal regulations. 


  1. Be familiar with and understand the Guidelines and Application Instructions available online; contact the State Library with any questions.
  2. Use the Application Form below to provide responses to the numbered items.
    • 12 page maximum including the budget table; Online Signature Page not included in maximum
  3. Complete and submit the SLNC CARES Online Signature Page.
  4. Email the signed SLNC CARES Online Signature Page and the Application Form as one attachment to by 11:59 PM on July 15, 2020.

SLNC CARES Application Instructions  SLNC CARES Application Form (.docx)  SLNC CARES Online Signature Page