Public Library Construction Act Grant Program Overview and Forms Illinois State Library


This grant program assists public libraries with construction costs in their facilities. The grant awards for eligible libraries will be determined by multiplying the library's Grant Index by the construction project's recognized eligible project costs. The Illinois State Library will calculate each library's Grant Index using a mathematical formula found in the legislation that created the program; Grant Index figures will be posted on the State Library's website. The State Library will verify the eligible construction costs to be funded by state funds, and notify the applying library of its local share of the construction project.

Application and Forms

Eligibility Requirements

Funding Priority

Priority ranking for construction grant projects shall be assigned if the funds available for any fiscal year are insufficient to fund grants for all eligible applicants. In this case, an eligible public library construction project shall be qualified for a construction grant award based on the following priority ranking order:

  1. Replacement or reconstruction of a public library facility that has been destroyed or damaged by flood, tornado, fire, earthquake or other disasters, either man-made or produced by nature.
  2. Projects that are designed to address population growth or to replace aging public library facilities.
  3. Replacement or reconstruction of public library facilities determined to be severe and continuing health or life safety hazards.
  4. Alterations necessary to provide accessibility for qualified individuals with disabilities.
  5. Other unique solutions to facility needs.

The State Library will determine a library's ranking within its level of priority by using the criteria listed in the administrative rules [23 Ill. Adm. Code 3035.525].

Grant Process

  1. To qualify for and be eligible for a public library construction grant, public libraries must apply to the State librarian for public library construction project grants on the forms prepared and made available for this purpose and be submitted electronically to
  2. The application shall be reviewed by the State Library for completeness and compliance with law and rules. The State Library may request additional information or clarification.
  3. When grant eligibility has been determined for a public library construction project, the State Librarian shall notify the public library of the State's share of the public library construction project and the dollar amount that the public library will be required to finance with non-grant funds in order to qualify to receive a public library construction project grant. The State Librarian shall thereafter determine whether a grant will be made.
  4. Eligible libraries are qualified for a library construction project grant, but are not guaranteed receipt of a grant.
  5. Proof of local cost share will be required by the State Librarian prior to a grant award. Proof shall be provided, at the latest, within 90 days after a successful referendum. A public library failing to have access to the local share of funds within the time period shall be reprioritized and must update its application to establish its priority ranking for the following fiscal year.
  6. Grant awards will be issued in accordance with the State Librarian's priority ranking.
  7. If a public library has been determined eligible for a public library construction project, has arranged and approved all local financing, and is eligible to receive a public library construction project grant award in a any fiscal year, but does not receive the award in that year due to lack of adequate appropriations, those public library construction projects shall continue to be considered for grant awards for the following fiscal year.
  8. Each public library that is determined to be eligible shall annually update its public library facilities plan and submit the revised plan to the State Librarian for approval.

Supporting Documentation

The following supporting documentation, when applicable, must be submitted electronically to as Portable Document Format (PDF) attachments and may be submitted separately from the application. Please contact the Illinois State Library if file size limitations obstruct the submission of these documents.

  1. 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, and floor plan for the proposed project). Address the library's ability to maintain and sustain library operations following completion of this project (i.e., building maintenance, expanded costs for utilities, staffing, maintaining a larger collection). Address how the library will provide access for the disabled. 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.
  2. Sign-off Letter from the Illinois State Historic Preservation Office (IL SHPO): Contact IL SHPO- at 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:
  3. 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. No grant award will be made until a deed of ownership to the proposed site is submitted to the State Library.
  4. Special Flood Hazard Area Documentation: Applicants must provide documentation stating whether the project site is located in a Special Flood Hazard Area. This information may be found at the Illinois State Water Survey's Illinois Floodplain Map website at 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 new construction, additions, or projects involving the evacuation of soil).
  5. 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 new construction, additions, or projects involving the evacuation of soil).
  6. 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 new construction, additions, or 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.

Project Costs

The State Library has established the maximum acceptable cost of the eligible expenditures in which grant funds may be expended.

In addition, the maximum acceptable costs for the following project components are as follows:

Site acquisition and site improvement costs are in addition to the unit costs listed above. Any costs over and above the acceptable eligible costs will be the responsibility of the grantee.

Project costs that grant funds may be expended on include but are not limited to:

Project costs that must be paid for with non-grant funds include but are not limited to:

A complete list and associated explanations of all eligible grant and non-grant project costs can be found in the administrative rules [23 Ill. Adm. Code 3035. Subpart E].

Additional Grant Requirements

Legal Authority

Program Impact

Number of Applications Received in FY2013 Number of People Served

Capital Needs Assessment Survey

The Secretary of State and the State Library must file with the General Assembly a comprehensive assessment of the capital needs of all public libraries every two years. The most recent report was filed with the General Assembly in December 2019.


For more information about public library construction grants, you may call 800-665-5576, Option 2 or email