Education is extremely important to society and The Department of Education in Minnesota is obviously very much aware of this. They started an admirable program to fund existing and future libraries in the area.
The Minnesota Department of Education offers a Library Construction Grant to their communities and is meant to build, renovate and improve libraries in Minnesota.
This Construction Grant is also available for very specific projects such as removing any present architectural barriers from a library, removing any dangers to health and safety, renovating or expanding a building that will be used as a library or the construction of a new one.
The Minnesota Library Construction Grant will be awarded every two years and is funded from the sale of obligation bonds. The Minnesota Department of Education has allocated $2 million for this program and divided the funds according to various regions. $570,000 was allocated for Jackson, $257,000 for Perham and $50,000 for the city of Bagley. All remaining funds can still be awarded.
Applying for the Construction Grant is possible through various application forms and more details are available on the Minnesota Department of Education grant website.
Eligible candidates are public libraries, regional libraries, cities and counties who are operating according to the Minnesota statute 134.001. When you apply for the Construction Grant, you’ll also have to mention which grant you are applying for, since the Minnesota Education Department has many active grants.
An awarded grant can run up to $1,000,000 and works according to a matching funds system. These are funds that are set to be paid in equal amounts that are available for various sources. This means that the Construction Grant isn’t solely funded by the local government body.
As was mentioned before, this Construction Grant is divided up into two different types: the Accessibility Grants and the Improvement Grants.
The maximum awarded funding for the Accessibility Grant is $200,000 or 50% of the approved costs for the full project. This type of Grant is meant for the removal of architectural barriers and gives libraries the possibility to expand their building(s). This expansion also includes renovation of library buildings and building a new extension to an existing library.
However, there are some regulations that grantees must adhere to. They must comply with the current building code in Minnesota, but there is an exception on this rule concerning disability standards. These specific types of improvements usually require higher standards than the general building codes. The library project must also follow all current Minnesota status and American requirements concerning Disabilities Act Title II.
Then there are improvement grants which awards a maximum amount of funding of $1 million or 50% of the approved funding for the project. This Construction Grant is also meant to renovate and expand existing library buildings, but is directed on the improvement and prevention of health and safety risks.
The grantees also have to adhere to the same regulations as mentioned in the above .
Since this is a relatively new grant the awarding of the Construction Grant is set to happen in January 2015. There is also an extra rule, because all grantees must be able to finish the active project by June 30th, 2019.
The decision will be made according to the following criteria: the need for funding, the suitability of the specific project, and collaboration levels with other public and/or private agencies, long-term results and the tax burden of the public library on the jurisdiction where the library is located.
This new Construction Grant is surely going to have some benefits for the educational system in Minnesota. It should greatly improve the quality and accessibility to all the public libraries in this state. However, results will only be clear once all the awarded projects have been finished and once the public has been able to use the newly improved libraries.