Congressional earmark requests for libraries: Fiscal Year 2025

The upcoming fiscal year 2025 appropriations bills may offer an opportunity for interested libraries to submit requests for local project funding (earmarks) to their Members of Congress.

Background: Officially called “Community Project Funding” in the House and “Congressionally Directed Spending” in the Senate, earmarks provide federal funding for specified local projects. Earmark funding goes directly to the entity designated by Congress for the specified project (separate from regular federal programs).

Recent earmarks for libraries: In fiscal years 2022 and 2023, Congress directed earmarks to more than 100 projects involving libraries, totaling nearly $150 million. (As of 2/13/2024, appropriations bills for fiscal year 2024 are still pending.)

When can libraries apply? Generally, applications will be due in February or March. See “How can libraries apply?” below.

What can libraries request funds for? Projects are typically for specific, one-time activities (and do not fund ongoing activities like annual operating expenses). Most library projects in FY22 and FY23 were capital projects, such as building renovation or construction; others included pilot programs or one-time activities related to technology, children and youth, and history.

How much funding can libraries request? The Congressional share of funding for library projects in FY22 and FY23 typically ranged from $50,000 to $2,000,000.

Which types of libraries can apply? Library projects in FY22 and FY23 included projects at school, academic, public, Tribal, state, and special libraries.

How can libraries apply? Libraries with a potential project can reach out to their Representative and Senators to discuss the idea and ask for their request form and deadline.

  • Each Congressmember establishes their own request forms and deadlines, which can vary between offices. Ask your Representative and Senators individually.
  • The House and Senate Appropriations Committees establish overall project eligibility and deadlines. Your Representative or Senators can provide information.
  • Applicants can submit the same request to all the Congressmembers who represent the project location (i.e., the district’s Representative and the state’s two Senators).
  • Some Congressmembers do not accept requests.

When would successful requests receive funding? Funding would likely be distributed in calendar year 2025, assuming enactment of FY25 appropriations laws.

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