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LSTA Need to Know

Acknowledge (Credit) IMLS for Project Funding

Federal grant award recipients (library systems and member libraries) are required to acknowledge (give credit to) the IMLS as the funding agency. All products, (including informational materials), regardless of format or method of distribution that are supported by an LSTA grant, including Internet websites and databases created totally or in part, must include a logo and an acknowledgement. See the LSTA FAQ page for more information.

Allowable and Unallowable Costs

Allowable costs are very important in the planning and implementation of projects. Disregard of allowable costs might affect project status and/or out-of pocket costs for a grantee. Grant funds must be obligated for the goals and objectives identified in the approved LSTA Five-Year State Plan. Generally, for an LSTA grant award cost to be allowable, the cost must be directly related and necessary to carry out one or more of the approved LSTA purposes. In addition, it must be (1) reasonable, (2) allowable, and (3) not specifically disallowed by the State or local laws or regulations.

Allowable cost examples for LSTA awards include, but are not limited to:

  • Salaries, wages, fringe benefits
  • Travel costs
  • Materials and Supplies
  • Consultant fees
  • Supplies (Specific attention should be given to purchases of computer/tablet or Internet-accessible devices see below)
  • Food (ONLY if obtained in conjunction with training to achieve one of the LSTA purposes. In most cases it is best to use local funds for food expenses)
  • Performance costs (ONLY if the performance is primarily for educational purposes)
  • LSTA project marketing cost

LSTA funds used to purchase Internet-accessible devices (including but not limited to computers, tablets, or smartphones) or to pay for costs 10 associated with accessing the Internet by library patrons and/or staff, must comply with the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA), passed in December 2000. The Act mandates the use of Internet filters in libraries. This includes the purchase of computers for job resource centers or other off-site outreach endeavors.

Unallowable Costs

  • Purchase of Internet filtering software
  • Marketing and public relations of general library services
  • Meetings, conventions for non-LSTA grant activities
  • Memorabilia or any kind of promotional items
  • Gifts, souvenirs, T-shirts, temporary tattoos, toys, stickers, candy
  • Parties, Games, Coloring books
  • Incentives and motivators (i.e. rewards, prizes)
  • Lobbying or advocacy activities (i.e. attempt to influence government decision-making)
  • Construction costs or expenses to reimburse trades personnel (e.g.carpenters, electricians, masons, etc.)

It is recommended that libraries partner with businesses and organizations to cover the cost of promotional material. For more information about allowable and unallowable costs, view the FAQ page.

Budget and Activity Changes

Grant recipients are informed at the time of the grant award if the submitted budget within the application requires a change. If there are no special conditions detailed in the award, the budget is approved as stated in the original application. During the project year, changes to an approved grant budget must be approved by the LSTA Program Coordinator, and occasionally by IMLS with a Budget Revision form (form will download to your computer). For more information, view the LSTA FAQ about Budgets page.

Computer / Tablet: Internet-accessible Devices

LSTA funds used to purchase Internet-accessible devices (including but not limited to computers, tablets, or smartphones) or to pay for costs associated with accessing the Internet by library patrons and/or staff, must comply with the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA), passed in December 2000. The Act mandates the use of Internet filters in libraries. This includes the purchase of computers for job resource centers or other off-site outreach endeavors. The 11 purchase of Internet filtering software is not a permissible use of LSTA funds under the IMLS guidelines.

For your consideration, LSTA funding may be used for projects that include use and/or purchase of Internet-accessible devices that are non-CIPA compliant if matching local funds are used for the purchase of the devices. In these situations:

LSTA funds can be used for equipment, training, transportation, or other LSTA allowable costs related to the use of the Internet-accessible devices that are non-CIPA compliant. For example, in a project involving use of iPads that are non-CIPA compliant, the iPads may not be purchased with LSTA funds although security cases, cables, storage cart, or training may be funded through an LSTA grant award. In this example, the grant application would reflect the source of funding for all items purchased as part of the project.

DUNS Number: Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS)

All LSTA grant applicants must have an applicant-specific (associated with the library) nine-digit DUNS number. City, municipality or friend’s group DUNS numbers cannot be used. As past recipients of LSTA grants, public library systems already have a DUNS number. If you have not received LSTA money or other federal funding directly in the past few years, it is possible that your public library does not have a DUNS number. Obtaining a DUNS number is a free onetime process that takes 5-10 minutes at the Dun & Bradstreet website. After supplying information, you will receive a DUNS number by email, usually by the next business day.

Evaluations: Six-month and Final Grant Evaluations Each recipient of subaward funds must complete a six-month and final evaluation online as shown on the 2017 Subaward calendar. 

Federal Congressional District(s) Served by Project

If you are unsure what federal legislative district(s) your library or libraries serve, check the following website: http://legis.wisconsin.gov/gis.

Grant Funds

Disbursement of grant funds is done on a reimbursement basis and is directly deposited to a banking account established by the grantee.The awarded agency purchases an item with local funds; the grantee can then completes an Excel Program Fiscal Report Form that downloads to your computer; complete and FAX this form to DPI accountant, (608-267-9270). This is an example of how to complete the fiscal report form. The grantee maintains all receipts for purchases made for at least three (3) years.

*The DPI accounting system requires new funding recipients to register library financial information to obtain payment. New award recipients that have not yet registered banking information with the DPI must do so before submitting the Program Fiscal Report form for payment. Contact Terrie Howe, program coordinator, for registration of a library’s banking account. 

Indirect Cost Rate

An indirect cost is an organization’s incurred cost that cannot be readily isolated or identified with just one project or activity. These types of costs are often referred to as “overhead costs.” Typical examples of indirect costs are general telephone service, postage, office supplies, office space expenses, and administrative or financial operations for an entire organization.

You can choose to:

  • Use a current indirect cost rate already negotiated with a federal agency;
  • Use an indirect cost rate proposed to a federal agency but not yet approved;
  • Use a rate not to exceed 10% of modified total direct costs if you have never had a federally negotiated indirect cost rate and you are not subject to other requirements (e.g., for States and Local Governments, and Indian Tribes); or
  • Not include any indirect costs (allowing more of granted funds to be used toward actual project costs).

What is a federally negotiated indirect cost rate, and how do I use one?

Federally negotiated indirect cost rates are negotiated agreements between federal agencies and nonprofit organizations. If your organization already has an existing negotiated indirect cost rate in effect with another federal agency, you may use this rate to calculate total project costs, as long as you apply the rate in accordance with the terms of the negotiated agreement. (A copy of the negotiation agreement will be required as a condition of a grant award). The DPI will only accept federally negotiated indirect cost rates that are current at the time awards are announced.

How do I use the 10% indirect cost rate?

You may choose to charge a de minimis rate of 10% of modified total direct costs (MTDC) if you have never had a federally negotiated indirect cost rate. MTDC means all direct salaries and wages, applicable fringe benefits, materials and supplies, services, travel, and subawards and subcontracts up to the first $25,000 of each subaward or subcontract. MTDC excludes equipment, capital expenditures, rental costs, tuition remission, scholarships and fellowships, participant support costs, and the portion of each subaward and subcontract in excess of $25,000. If you choose to use this rate, you must be careful to exclude from the budget all indirect-cost-type items, such as general telephone service, postage, office supplies and office space expenses, and administrative or financial operations for the applicant's entire organization. As long as you are an eligible entity and have never had a federally negotiated indirect cost rate, you may use this rate with no additional documentation required.

Partnerships/Collaboration

IMLS considers partnerships official only when there is a written agreement between the grant applicant and another institution. An agreement may also come in the form of signed letter stating the intent of member librarians to attend training, offer a program to library users, financial support, or in-kind contribution of staff to teach a workshop/presentation. In either case, there is a clear understanding of the responsibilities expected from each institution.

Grants are offered to a single fiscal agent; any project that includes distribution of funds and/or shared activities with additional entities must have a formal partnership agreement. This is an example of a written memorandum of understanding (MOU) and can be modified to formalize a collaborative project.

For fiscal relationships, allocating funds to member libraries requires greater documentation in the LSTA application and final evaluation. The federal government requires accountability in the distribution of funds. For example, library system staff, as grant administrators, need to provide information to member libraries about their responsibility in agreeing to accept funds. IMLS requires that each recipient of funds describe the impact of the federal funds on its community. Each library or organization that receives and spends LSTA money must report the use of the LSTA funds and the outcomes of the project to the original recipient of the grant award.

For questions about this information, contact Tessa Michaelson Schmidt (608) 267-5077