Live and Learn Construction Grant Program Illinois State Library
The Live and Learn Construction Grant Program, funded by an annual state legislative appropriation, assists public libraries with construction costs in their facilities. Grants are awarded based on recommendations from a statewide committee following a review process. Local money is matched by state grants, except for Mini-Grants.
Application Forms and Supplementary Information
- Contract Agreement
- Grant Application Review Criteria and Scoring Rubric
- Instructions for Completing Fillable Grant Forms
- Library Data Entry Guidelines
- Reporting Manual
- Quarterly Narrative Report
- Quarterly Financial Report
- Final Narrative Report
- Final Financial Report
Remodeling for Accessibility — Grant award range: $2,500-$50,000
- 70-100 percent of total project funds must be used specifically for remodeling an existing building for compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). See ADA.gov for information and technical assistance on the Americans with Disabilities Act.
- State’s share will be a maximum of 50 percent of the project’s total cost, for a maximum of $50,000.
- Local matching funds are required.
Mini-Grants — Grant award range: $2,500-$35,000
- Available to public libraries with limited funds with incomes of less than $15 per capita (see Eligibility Requirements).
- Remodeling or refurbishing existing library buildings.
- Projects include new carpeting and floor coverings, new furnishings (shelving excluded), remodeling, energy conservation, electrical, roofing, elevators, ceilings, HVAC, plumbing, doors/windows, fire protection, book drops, circulation desks, security systems, technology wiring, and interior or exterior painting.
- Libraries must address legal requirements for making the building ADA compliant.
- Local matching funds are not required.
New Construction/Remodeling — Grant award range: $25,000-$125,000
- New library construction.
- Additions to and/or remodeling of existing library buildings.
- Conversion of existing buildings not currently used for library services.
- State’s share will be a maximum of 50 percent of the project’s total cost, for a maximum of $125,000.
- Local matching funds are required.
- Each applicant must be a public library that is a full member of an Illinois Library System, permits intersystem reciprocal borrowing, meets the eligibility criteria to qualify for per Capita Grants, provided in Section 8.1 of the Illinois Library System Act [75 ILCS 10/], and must have applied and been awarded a Public Library Per Capita Grant for the three previous fiscal years.
- Priority will be given to public libraries that have not received a Live and Learn Construction Grant during the three previous fiscal years.
- Mini-Grants only: Mini-Grants enable public libraries with limited funds to remodel or refurbish the library. Such libraries have received an income of less than $15 per capita in the preceding fiscal year, using a formula whereby the library's equalized assessed valuation is multiplied by .13 percent and divided by the population of the library's legal service area. If you are unsure as to whether your library qualifies for this category, please contact the Illinois State Library for verification.
The following supporting documentation is required, when applicable, and must be submitted electronically as Portable Document Format (PDF) attachments or by U.S. Mail on a USB flash drive and may be submitted separately from the application.
- Sign-off Letter from the Illinois State Historic Preservation Office (IL SHPO): Contact IL SHPO, Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Illinois State Historic Preservation Office, Attn: Review and Compliance, 1 Old State Capitol Plaza, Springfield, Illinois 62701. Phone: 217-782-4836. For more information concerning the IL SHPO requirements please visit:
- https://www2.illinois.gov/dnrhistoric/preserve/pages/resource-protection.aspx (required by all applicants)
- Facilities Plan: The applicant must examine in detail the present and future public library facility needs required by present and anticipated public library programming, keeping in mind that library buildings are to be planned for a 20-year population projection. Provide a site analysis; space needs assessment and the project design (to include an elevation drawing, site plan, floor plan for the proposed project, and the outline specifications). Provide all relevant financial documentation as it relates to the library’s local cost share responsibility including funding sources, local financial resources, current revenues, fund balances, and unused bonding capacity. If a construction project is more than $150,000 in total costs, a library building consultant may work with the library in developing the Facilities Plan (required by all applicants).
- Deed of ownership or proof of long-term (20 years) occupancy such as a lease or similar document. For any project involving the acquisition of real estate, a legal description of the proposed site and a certified appraisal of the land and any existing structures or improvements must be provided by the application deadline (only required for Remodeling for Accessibility, New Construction/Remodeling applicants).
- Proof of Local Cost Share: Applicants must provide documentation proving the availability of the local cost share of the project costs when applicable.
- Special Flood Hazard Area Documentation: Applicants must provide documentation stating whether the project site is located in a Special Flood Hazard Area found at the Illinois State Water Survey’s Illinois Floodplain Map website at http://www.illinoisfloodmaps.org/. If the project site is located in a Special Flood Hazard Area, the applicant shall submit an assurance letter from the Division of Water Resources of the Department of Natural Resources stating that the project meet the requirements of Executive Order 2006-5 regarding flood damages (only required for projects involving the evacuation of soil).
- Subsurface soil analysis: a subsurface soil analysis by a soil engineer when enlarging an existing building, constructing a new building, or when the project involves evacuation of soil. This document may be submitted after the library has acquired the proposed building site (only required for projects involving the evacuation of soil).
- Environmental Site Assessment: A site assessment by a licensed environmental/hazardous materials consultant to determine the existence of asbestos and/or lead paint, if applicable. This document may be submitted after the library has acquired the proposed building site (only required for projects involving the evacuation of soil).
The Illinois State Library does not make recommendations for contractors, engineers, architects or building consultants. Incomplete applications will not be considered.
- Live and Learn Construction Grant Workshop Recorded October 12, 2021
Program Impact in FY 2021Total Dollars Awarded
$637,500 Live and Learn FundNumber of Grants Awarded
- 5 Accessibility
- 6 Mini-Grants
- 6 New Construction/Remodeling
- 17 Total
Acorn Public Library District in Oak Forest received an Accessibility grant for the remodeling of the library restrooms to address Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements.
West Frankfort Public Library received a Mini-Grant to replace the library’s roof.
Sugar Grove Public Library District received a New Construction/Remodeling grant for major renovations and remodeling of the library.
For more information about public library construction grants, you may call 800-665-5576, Option 2 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.