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Federal Funding:  Federal funding for libraries is made possible through the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) as administered through the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Through LSTA legislation, all fifty State Library Agencies, the District of Columbia, and U. S. territories, receive annual appropriations using a population-based formula. The statutory language of LSTA stipulates that the State Library Agency shall expend the funds for:

  1. expanding services for learning and access to information and educational resources in a variety of formats, in all types of libraries, for individuals of all ages;
  2. developing library services that provide all users access to information through local, state, regional, national, and international electronic networks;
  3. providing electronic and other linkages among and between all types of libraries;
  4. developing public and private partnerships with other agencies and community-based organizations;
  5. targeting library services to individuals of diverse geographic, cultural, and socioeconomic backgrounds, to individuals with disabilities, and to individuals with limited functional literacy or information skills; and
  6. 6. targeting library and information services to persons having difficulty using a library and to underserved urban and rural communities, including children (from birth through age 17) from families with incomes below the poverty level.  

The Tennessee State Library and Archives uses its annual LSTA appropriation to support statewide library initiatives which benefit all types of libraries, such as the Tennessee Electronic Library and AGENT, a statewide library catalog which promotes resource sharing. Federal funds also support the development of technology infrastructure in public libraries through grants for hardware and software and through ongoing technology assistance to small and medium-sized public libraries. In addition, federal funds are used to supplement public library services to the disadvantaged, e.g. job training centers in libraries, family literacy initiatives, and outreach to senior citizens, and to supplement the ongoing services of the Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped.

State Funding: The Tennessee State Library and Archives helps to support local public libraries with a total annual budget of approximately $7.6 million. This state funding supports Tennessee’s Regional Library System, a network of nine regional-based library facilities with personnel who provide materials acquisition and cataloging services, continuing education opportunities, technology assistance, and other valuable assistance to approximately 200 small to medium-sized public libraries throughout the state. The four metropolitan libraries in our state (Memphis, Nashville, Chattanooga, and Knoxville) receive direct state aid through annual contracts. In addition, the State budget includes funds for matching library construction grant dollars available for public library building projects.

2016 Tech Grants

Applications are now being taken for the 2016 Technology Grants.  These grants are open to any public library in Tennessee for the purchase of technology for use in the library.  This is a 50/50 matching grant, which means that for every grant dollar received, a matching local dollar is required.  This is a reimbursement grant, so as the grantee receives applicable invoices for purchases made, the State will reimburse half of each until the grant award has been met.

Applications will be rated based on need and the applicant’s ability to meet or exceed the following terms and conditions:

  • Are a recognized public library by TSLA;
  • Are currently in compliance with Children’s Internet Protection Act;
  • Follow the grant application procedures and meet grant application deadlines;
  • Demonstrate a clear ability and designated personnel to administer the grant responsibly;
  • Present realistic cost/funding estimates under $20,000.00 for the grant objective;
  • Offer well-focused, specific project proposals that identify specific objects or supplies to be procured, that concentrate on promoting technology in the public library for the staff and the public.

The deadline for submission is August 1, 2015. Contact Jennifer Cowan-Henderson at for additional information.

2016 Tech Grant Application

2016 Tech Grant Minimum Specifications



Updated June 26, 2015


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