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ARPA Awards 2021: Allowable Expenses

This guide will provide all the information you need to apply for an ARPA award from Washington State Library: forms, explanations, ideas, and links


ARPA applications closed 4/15/22

Apply here

Apply here

Allowable Expenses and Activities

The ARPA grants program is intended to help communities respond directly and immediately to the pandemic, as well as to related economic and community needs through equitable approaches. Projects must address one or more of the following focal areas:

  • Connectivity
  • Digital Equity and Inclusion
  • Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Anti-Racism
  • Workforce Development
  • Needs Arising from the Pandemic

Grant funds may be spent on:

  • Accessories and supplies that are necessary to support the project
  • Hardware, software, and/or technology necessary to support the project
  • Consulting or contractual services
  • Salaries and benefits for temporary staff (or additional hours for existing, non full-time staff) to be employed for the project
  • Travel and/or training expenses related to the project for project staff
  • Subscriptions and licenses within the grant period that support digital inclusion efforts
  • Indirect costs 

Note: Organizations applying to use funds for devices that access the Internet and/or for direct costs associated with accessing the Internet must certify CIPA compliance.

These costs are NOT allowed:

  • Operational costs
  • Replacement of revenue lost due to the pandemic
  • Prizes or incentives
  • Lobbying or political advocacy
  • Fundraising
  • Construction or remodeling, including the following:
    • Trenching for cabling (e.g. for laying fiber)
    • Permanent outdoor structures (e.g. gazebos on concrete pads)
    • Permanent fixtures to the interior or exterior of buildings

Allowable items

IMLS has strict guidance on how the grant money can be spent, so we put together a list of expenses that are allowable under this grant. You are welcome to contact us to check on allowability if you have another idea.

Allowable items for projects
Copiers/printers/scanners Wireless printing software 
CIPA compliant computers (laptops, desktops, Chromebooks, tablets)
CIPA compliant firewalls
CIPA compliant hotspots
CIPA compliant routers/modems
CIPA compliant network boosters/extenders/wi-fi boosters on roof
CIPA compliant Wi-Fi kiosks for remote use
Wireless access points/mesh extenders/wi-fi extenders/repeaters
LTE Antennas
Satellite dishes
Cabling for computers to allow for social distancing
Digital readers
Security cameras/security systems  (for outside to monitor wi-fi accessible areas)
Contactless checkout/check-in of materials
Security devices for materials/technology/security gates
RFID tags for materials (new, to allow touchless checkout)
Self-checkout stations
Material Sorters
Studio/AV production equipment for online programming
Meeting room equipment Digital screens/TV
Microphones (stand, wireless) / voice amplifiers
Speakers for PA system
Virtual programming software, cameras, mics, etc.
Virtual meeting/conferencing software, podcasting equipment
Virtual scheduling software (programs, curbside, computer use, etc.)
Smart boards
Accessibility upgrades  (no construction allowed)
Digital Content: Subscriptions for period of performance (direct relation to project)
eBooks, downloadable audiobooks
Streaming video
Online magazines
Mobile Digital Lab Outreach vehicles, bookmobiles (partial funding OK, must be project specific)
Vehicles such as busses, vans (partial funding OK, must be project specific)
Book bikes
CIPA compliant portable router
CIPA compliant computers
CIPA compliant network boosters/extenders
Workforce Development Dedicated space for social worker/employment specialist/etc. (Can purchase cubical type of walls, desks, chairs, computers, but no construction of permanent walls)
Pandemic Relief Plexiglass shields / Transaction Screens
Hand Sanitizer stands, sanitizer
PPE (gloves, masks, cleaning materials, etc.)
Furniture to provide barriers/distance (furniture must be approved prior)
HVAC upgrades (would have to meet no construction mandate)
Assessments Library Space
Technology (status and needs)
(consultant fees) Internal network: wireless access points, wi-fi boosters
Bringing fiber to the library
Outdoor spaces  Pergola (can purchase pergola but can’t install)
Outdoor furniture, security cameras (only if specifically related to grant project)
Outdoor heaters
including Wi-Fi access Solar umbrellas
Outdoor charging benches for devices/computers (could be solar)
Story Walks books & posts (no installation)
Other Technical support and/or training for the ARPA sponsored project
Secure lockers for outside/remote pickup of materials, after hours
Lockers for permanent hotspot/computer/device storage
Un-upholstered furniture (must be part of a specific project to be allowable)

This is not meant to be an exhaustive list

Detailed information is available on the IMLS tipsheet