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U.S. Department of Education Announces LSL Program Competition

The U.S. Department of Education’s Improving Literacy Through School Libraries (LSL) Program focuses on providing funding to public school libraries in districts with 20.00 percent or more family poverty. Funds are used to improve reading achievement through updating the library collection, expanding internet connections, purchasing new technology, providing professional development for library media specialists, and extending school library hours. Please note that individual schools may not apply for this program. This is for public local school districts or charter schools or state-administered schools that are considered local school districts by their State Educational Agency. More information about this program can be found on the program’s Web site

The Department announced the 2009 LSL program competition in the Federal Register on Tuesday, January 6, 2009, and applications will be due on Friday, March 6, 2009, at 4:30 P.M. Eastern Time.  Approximately 18.5 million dollars will be available for funding, and an estimated 80 grants will be awarded under this competition.

It is important to note that LSL applicants must use the U.S. Federal Government’s applications system to apply. It is vital that all applicants register early, since the registration process on can take from 7 to 10 days. Please note that if you are registered, you must make sure your information is up-to-date.

The LSL application package can be found on along with instructions for registering in the system and applying for grants. You may download the application package before you register.  Once you are on the home page, click on “Apply for Grants” at the left of the screen.  Then click on “Step 1 Download a Grant Application Package.”  At “CFDA Number” type in “84.364” and then click on “Download Package”.  Then scroll to the bottom of the page and click on the link to download the application package.  Make sure you have a recent version of Adobe Reader. It is also necessary to remember to send in your application at least three days before the closing date of the competition, since it can take that long to process the application.

You may access the full application package on the program Web site under “Applicant Info,” and this page also contains information on how to register for free technical assistance conference calls. The Federal Register Notice can be found at

If you have any questions please e-mail Dr. Irene Harwarth, Team Leader for the Improving Literacy Through School Libraries program at
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Jacob Roberts is the communications specialist for the ALA Washington Office.

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