Public Libraries To Receive $18.3 Million in CARES Act Funding

woman using hand sanitizer photo

Hand sanitizer is just one of the frequently-used items that libraries can purchase with the CARES Act grants.

Ohio’s public libraries will receive $18.3 million through the Federal Coronavirus Relief Fund under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The State of Ohio will provide up to $25,000 to each Ohio public library building(s) to assist them in operating safely during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This funding will help to offset the unanticipated costs of increased sanitation of public library buildings and the purchase of PPE, including hand sanitizer, face shields, masks, gloves, thermometers, Plexiglas barriers, air filters, additional cleaning supplies and large bins to quarantine returned library materials.

All public libraries are required to follow the Ohio Department of Health’s safety protocols in the Responsible Restart Ohio plan. Some library systems have already spent $12,000 to $180,000 on COVID-19 related supplies. Many of these expenses will be ongoing throughout the pandemic.

“On behalf of Ohio’s 251 public library systems, the Ohio Library Council would like to formally thank the Ohio Controlling Board and especially members of the Ohio Senate for hearing our call and listening to our concerns,” said Michelle Francis, Executive Director of the Ohio Library Council. “This funding is greatly appreciated and will allow us to continue to make safety a priority for public library employees and Ohio’s 8.5 million library cardholders.”