Building Forward Library Infrastructure Program


The Building Forward infrastructure grant program was made possible by the California Budget Act for the 2021-2022 fiscal year, which contains $439 million in one-time funds to create an equity-focused matching infrastructure grant program to support local library maintenance, capital projects, broadband and technology upgrades, and purchasing of devices.

The California State Library:

  1. Shall prioritize project requests submitted by local libraries in high-poverty areas of the state. No grant amount shall exceed $10,000,000.
  2. Shall prioritize grants for life-safety and other critical maintenance and infrastructure projects.
  3. May support more significant modernization and construction capital projects, other infrastructure projects, and device purchases only if funding remains after supporting life-safety and other critical projects.


Preliminary Application Period

The preliminary application period is designed to help the State Library identify the types of projects that cities, counties, and districts intend to apply for. This information will be used to develop a full application, guidelines, training, and technical assistance that meets the needs expressed by the California library community.

Applicants do not have to submit a preliminary application to be eligible to submit a full application. Entities that submit a preliminary application may choose not to apply for funds when the full application period opens; submitting a preliminary application does not compel applicants to submit a full application.

Full Application Period

  • December, 2021 (tentative): Application for funds opens
  • February, 2022 (tentative) Application for funds closes

A more precise timeline will be developed in response to information submitted during the preliminary application period.


  • Projects should be community-specific and should focus on individual library outlets/buildings.
  • Preliminary and full applications should come from the governing city, county, or district. They should not come from the library or an organization such as a Friends group.
  • Cities, counties, and districts with multiple outlets can submit multiple applications. Each application must be submitted separately.
  • Cities, counties, and districts can only submit one application for an individual outlet.
  • Projects completed under this grant must be completed according to the California Building Standards Code, and applicable federal, state and local laws, regulations, ordinances, policies, and guides.

Read more about eligibility and requirements in the Preliminary Application Guidelines.

Grant Funds and Local Match

The California State Library shall require local applicants to match state funds on a dollar-for-dollar basis. The California State Library may reduce the amount of required matching funds if the requesting entity can demonstrate that it is financially unable to provide the required matching funds. Upon receipt and assessment of these requests, the California State Library may lower the matching requirement, as follows:

  1. For each library with local operating income per capita (LIPC) of more than $40, no reduction in local match is allowed.       
  2. For each library with an LIPC between $40 and $15.01, the local match may be reduced by half. 
  3. For each library with an LIPC of $15 or less, the local match may be eliminated.

Library LIPCs will be calculated based on FY 2020-2021 budget information submitted for the California Public Libraries Survey.

  • FY2019-2020 LIPC Levels: For applicants’ planning purposes only. FY2020-2021 levels will be available in November, 2021, after the close of the California Public Libraries Survey.

Community Poverty Measure

Community poverty levels will be assessed using the California Poverty Measure (CPM). The CPM, a joint research effort by Public Policy Institute of California and the Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality, factors in income, the Earned Income Tax Credit, and benefits people receive from major safety net programs, such as CalFresh and unemployment benefits. Additionally, it accounts for medical expenses, childcare costs, and adjusts for geographic differences in the cost of housing. “The result is a comprehensive, accurate account of the resources families have on hand to meet their basic needs.”

Questions? Please email the State Library’s Library Development Services Bureau with the subject line “Library Infrastructure.”