OLYMPIA — The Washington State Library (WSL), a division of the Office of the Secretary of State, has been tasked with distributing $688,000 to public and tribal libraries, and museums for COVID-19 response efforts. The funds are part of the $50 million allocated in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to the Institute of Museum and Library Services to assist museums and libraries across the country address the digital divide during the pandemic.

Three grant opportunities are available for libraries and museums. All applications can be submitted online at sos.wa.gov/library/libraries/grants/.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) grants – Grant amounts between $500 and $3,000 are available to help libraries and museums acquire PPE, and will be disbursed based on an entity’s service population.

Outreach for COVID-19 Response grants – Grant rewards of up to $3,000 will be available to support libraries, historical societies, and museums working within their communities to develop new programming to address unique needs during the pandemic. This includes but is not limited to computer programs, summer reading and homework help, and job-search support.

Wi-Fi Hotspots grants – Public and tribal libraries are invited to apply for one of 1,000 Wi-Fi hotspots available, which will enable up to 10 months of connectivity. The hotspots, which can be loaned like books, will be awarded based on current connectivity, economic need, and population. WSL acquired the hotspots through a special agreement with the Washington Military Department, facilitated by the Washington State Office of Broadband.

Applications are open now through July 31, 2020 or until funding is exhausted. Grants will be reviewed beginning June 19.