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Live and Learn Construction Grant Program

Grants to Illinois Public Libraries to Build and
Refurbish New and Existing Facilities

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Illinois State Library

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Grants to Illinois public libraries to help support construction costs related to facilities improvements. The majority of funding is intended for projects that enhance accessibility for patrons with disabilities. Other eligible projects include refurbishing or remodeling existing facilities, as well as the construction of new facilities.

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.


Remodeling for Accessibility:
- 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).

- Available to public libraries with limited funds with incomes of less than $15 per capita.
- 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.

New Construction/Remodeling:
- New library construction.
- Additions to and/or remodeling of existing library buildings.
- Conversion of existing buildings not currently used for library services.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 176126

Estimated Size of Grant:

- Remodeling for Accessibility: Grant award range: $2,500 - $50,000
- Mini-Grants: Grant award range: $2,500 - $35,000
- New Construction/Remodeling: Grant award range: $25,000 - $125,000

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

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, 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.

Pre-Application Information:

FY 2019 applications are due on January 11, 2019.

Remodeling for Accessibility: State’s share will be a maximum of 50 percent of the project’s total cost. Local matching funds are required.

Mini-Grants: Local matching funds are not required.

New Construction/Remodeling: State’s share will be a maximum of 50 percent of the project’s total cost. Local matching funds are required.

Instructions for Completing Fillable PDF Grant Forms:

Library Data Entry Guidelines:

View the October 19 webinar recording here:

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Apply Online:

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

Jesse White
Secretary of State and State Librarian
Illinois State Library, Gwendolyn Brooks Building
300 S. Second St.
Springfield, IL 62701-1796

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Illinois