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Literacy Through School Libraries

Program Descriptions

Program Number



Literacy Through School Libraries


Federal Agency




Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, Title I, Part B, Subpart 4.






To provide students with increased access to up-to- date school library materials, a well-equipped technologically advanced school library media center, and well-trained, professionally certified school library media specialists to improve literacy skills and achievement of students.


Types of Assistance

Project Grants (Discretionary).


Uses and Use Restrictions

A recipient local educational agency (LEA) receiving a grant may use program funds to: acquire school library media resources; acquire and use technology that can help to develop the information retrieval and critical thinking skills of students; facilitate Internet links and other resource-sharing networks; provide professional development and collaborative activities for school library media specialists; and provide students with access to school libraries during non-school hours. This program is subject to non-supplanting requirements and must use a restricted indirect cost rate which is referenced under 34 CFR 75.563. For assistance call the Office of Chief Financial Officer/Indirect Cost Group on (202) 708-7770.


Eligibility Requirements

Applicant Eligibility

Local educational agencies (LEAs) with a child poverty rate of at least 20 percent are eligible.

Beneficiary Eligibility

School library media center specialists, teachers, students, parents and the community are beneficiaries.


Information to document the need for and impact of school library improvement.


Application and Award Process

Preapplication Coordination

None. This program is excluded from coverage under E.O. 12372.

Application Procedure

Applications must be prepared and submitted in accordance with the notice published in the Federal Register. By the due date, eligible applicants must submit to the Department of Education, Application Control Center, a complete application that addresses the purposes of the program, the selection criteria, the absolute priority included in the application notice, and includes all required assurances and signatures. Required assurances and certifications include: Group Application Certification (if applicable); Assurances for Non-Construction Programs (SF 422B); Certification regarding Lobbying, Debarment; Suspension and Other Responsibility Matter, and Drug-Free Workplace Requirements (ED Form 80- 0013); Disclosure of Lobbying Activities (SF LLL) (if applicable); Response to Notice to All Applicants (Section 427, GEPA). Applications should also include a Cover Page (SF424); the required Budget Form (ED Form 524); an itemized budget and other budget information; proof of eligibility; a project abstract; and a program narrative that includes responses to selection criteria. Applicants are encouraged to submit (1) one original and (2) copies of their application. This program is eligible for coverage under E.O. 12372,"Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs." An applicant should consult the office or official designated as the single point of contact in his or her State for more information on the process the State requires to be followed in applying for assistance, if the State has selected the program for review.

Award Procedure

Applications are reviewed and ranked by a panel of outside readers. The Department of Education notifies successful applicants of awards and negotiates the final award documents.


Deadlines are published in the Federal Register.

Range of Approval/Disapproval Time

Generally 60 to 120 days after the deadline for applications.





Assistance Considerations

Formula and Matching Requirements


Length and Time Phasing of Assistance

Grants are awarded for a period of not more than 12 months.


Post Assistance Requirements


Grantees must submit a final performance reports within 90 days after the end of the grant award period documenting how the funds were used and the how school library media centers were improved.


In accordance with the provisions of OMB Circular No. A-133 (Revised June 27, 2003), Audits of States, Local Governments, and Nonprofit Organizations, nonfederal entities that receive financial assistance of $500,000 or more in Federal awards will have a single or program-specific audit conducted for that year. Nonfederal entities that expend less than $500,000 a year in Federal awards are exempt from Federal audit requirements for that year, except as noted in Circular No. A-133.


Records must be maintained for three years after the fiscal year in which the expenditure was made by the grantee, or until the grantee is notified of the completion of the Federal fiscal audit. In all cases of audit questions, records must be maintained until resolution has occurred.


Financial Information

Account Identification



(Grants) FY 07 $19,485,000; FY 08 est $19,145,000; and FY 09 est $19,145,000.

Range and Average of Financial Assistance

Approximately 60 awards were made; the average award was $310,000; the range was $138,000 to $507,000.


Program Accomplishments

2008: Approximately 60 awards were made.


Regulations, Guidelines and Literature

Education Department General Administrative Regulations (EDGAR), Parts 74, 75, 77, 79, 80, 81, 82, 85, 86, 97, 98, and 99. For further guidance and other information, contact the program office.


Information Contacts

Regional or Local Office


Headquarters Office

Department of Education, OESE Academic Improvement and Teacher Quality Programs, 400 Maryland, Ave. S.W., Washington, DC 20202-6100. Contact: Irene B. Harwarth, E-mail: Telephone: (202) 401-3751.

Web Site Address


Related Programs



Examples of Funded Projects

Enhancing Libraries in Rural South Dakota, administered by the Mid Central Educational Cooperative, serves ten rural schools in South Dakota. All ten schools are adding high-quality contemporary titles to their library collections for grades K-12. Three of the most rural schools purchased research and content-oriented software, and six of the schools are using the funds to develop the literacy skills in children grades K-3. Seven of the schools are requesting to use up to one-third of the grant for expanding library hours to be open before and after school and on Saturdays. Consistent with the competitive priority, all grant activities have been tied to district school improvement plans. The Chicago Public School District's "Improving Literacy through School Libraries: The ABC's of Library Literacy Programming" demonstration project is seeking to improve student literacy in ten urban elementary schools. Serving 4,729 students, the program targets 1,099 first and second graders. The program's objectives are as follows: expanding intellectual access to the library by adding up-to-date library media resources including technologically advanced, networked resources, as well as expanding physical access to the library by increasing the amount of time students in lower grades can spend in the library. The program also focuses on providing professional development designed to assist librarians in learning how to more effectively enhance student reading achievement, and furthering collaboration among the librarians, Lead Literacy Teachers, and classroom teachers through the use of a successful collaboration model.


Criteria for Selecting Proposals

Selection criteria are contained in the program guidelines. Contact the program office for more information.


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