Funds for Nine Libraries Across the State
WILMINGTON, Del. – Governor John Carney announced Thursday $40 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding to be distributed to libraries throughout all three counties.
The investments are funded by the American Rescue Plan Act Capital Relief Fund, which was championed by Delaware’s Congressional Delegation – U.S. Senators Tom Carper and Chris Coons, along with Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester. ARPA was passed by Congress and then signed into law by President Joe Biden on March 11.
Capital Relief projects under ARPA must meet strict criteria to be eligible for funding. That includes funding projects that specifically enable work, education, and health monitoring – and respond to issues created or exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The U.S. Department of the Treasury has approved Delaware’s plans to invest in libraries statewide. Additional capital awards funded by ARPA will be announced soon.
“Children and families will benefit from these investments for generations to come,” said Governor Carney. “Delaware’s libraries serve our communities with resources, collaboration and creativity. Many of these investments are in our communities hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic has reinforced the central role libraries serve in our communities as hubs for job training, employment searches, education, COVID-19 test kit distributions and vaccination sites. I want to thank the Congressional delegation for their advocacy and look forward to seeing significant results from these investments.”
“When we were crafting the American Rescue Plan, we were looking at ways to make investments that will have a lasting impact for generations to come,” said Senator Tom Carper. “When we invest in our libraries, we are really helping someone find a job, providing a safe place for the community to gather and learn, and giving people access to resources that they wouldn’t normally have. I am proud of Governor Carney’s commitment to strengthening communities through investing in our much-needed libraries.”
“Libraries house centuries of learning, information sharing, and free access to educational resources,” said Senator Chris Coons. “Investing in our libraries begins the next chapter for greater public education, social uplift, and a principled commitment to helping Delawareans fight the COVID-19 pandemic. I’m proud to support Governor Carney and my congressional delegation in recognizing the value of our libraries and their role in our social infrastructure and community health.”
“Libraries across our state and country play such a vital role in the communities they serve. Whether it’s giving Delawareans access to countless literary titles, serving as a meeting place for local organizations, to serving as an area of inspiration for the arts and the humanities – libraries are vital to the well-being of our communities,” said Representative Lisa Blunt Rochester. “That’s why I’m so thrilled to join Governor Carney and my congressional colleagues in announcing this much-needed investment in Delaware libraries – so that these pillars of our communities can be enjoyed for generations to come.”
“Our libraries are so much more than a place to check out books. They really are gateways for learning and discovery and allow our communities to come together and access so many vital services,” said Lt. Governor Bethany Hall-Long. “I am so proud of the incredible contributions our libraries continue to make to our communities. Delaware libraries are setting the example for others to follow in the fight against COVID-19 and serving to make our state stronger and healthier. Thanks to Governor Carney and the congressional delegation, the impact from these investments, made possible through the American Rescue Plan Act, will be felt for generations to come.”
The $40 million of investments announced will improve nine libraries across the state. This funding will be used for new construction and improvements to existing structures, including:
- $7 million to the Selbyville Library for a new building
- $5.6 million to the Harrington Library for a new building
- $750,000 to the Lewes Public Library for a new outdoor pavilion
- $900,000 to the Milford Public Library for updates to HVAC, filtration, and ventilation
- $250,000 to the Georgetown Public Library for updates to HVAC, filtration, and ventilation
- $7.8 million to the Friends of Duck Creek Regional Library to build an expanded library
- $11 million to the North Wilmington Library for a new building
- $4 million to the Newark Public Library for a new building
- $3 million to the Rehoboth Beach Public Library for upgrades
“Governor Carney’s strategic investment in libraries supports equity for communities throughout the state,” said Dr. Annie Norman, State Librarian. “Delaware Libraries are shovel-ready to strengthen the social services infrastructure for digital equity, workforce development, and more statewide.”
The Governor’s Recommended Bond Bill for FY 2023 announced in late January includes an additional $26.8 million in state funding to match the federal funding for the five new libraries.
For a full list of Delaware’s ARPA allocations, click here.