Tribal libraries should be able to demonstrate three basic characteristics of a library: 1) Regularly scheduled hours; 2) Dedicated library staff; and 3) Materials available for library users. Libraries must be eligible for assistance from a state library administrative agency under the Library Services and Technology Act (20 U.S. Code 9122), which can be shown through a letter from the state library administrative agency or through a Tribal designation. Except for Tribal College or University (TCU) libraries that serve as a public library, the library must also have a budget that is completely separate from any schools to be eligible to receive discounted services, including but not limited to, elementary and secondary schools.
A Tribal library is eligible for E-Rate if a Tribal government entity designates a library as a Tribal library through Tribal Resolution or a similar document, or Tribal libraries may work with the state library administrative agency where they are located. A signed letter from a state library agency can be used to establish E-Rate eligibility for a Tribal library.
Libraries located off Tribal lands may be considered Tribal under E-Rate if the library is operated by a federally recognized Tribe, Band, Nation, or other organized group or community, including any Alaska native village, regional corporation, or village corporation.
Under the definition of Tribal in the E-Rate program rules (47 CFR 54.500), entities are only considered Tribal if they are a school operated by BIE or if they are a school or library operated by a federally recognized Tribe, Band, Nation, or other organized group or community, including any Alaska native village, regional corporation, or village corporation. Libraries (or schools) are not considered Tribal just because they are on Tribal Lands.
A Tribal library must have physical materials to be identified as a Tribal library for E-Rate. A Tribal library with only a “digital collection” is not eligible for E-Rate.
Tribal government entity documentation can be used to establish Tribal status such as a charter or ordinance or letter from the Tribal Council, as well as documentation that shows that the applicant has characteristics of a library, including regular hours, staff, and materials. A signed letter from a state library agency can be used to establish E-Rate eligibility for a library, but it cannot be used to establish Tribal status.
Funding from states, Tribal governments, or federal agencies can be used by the applicant to pay their non-discounted share.
For example, would a match from the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) or Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program (TBCP) be eligible for E-Rate matching (e.g., 90 percent from E-Rate and five percent from BEAD, and an additional amount from E-Rate to match the BEAD match)?
Yes. For Tribal schools and libraries, the E-Rate program will match special construction funding provided by states, Tribal governments, or other federal agencies on a one-to-one basis, up to an additional 10 percentage points on top of the applicant’s discount rate and not to exceed the total costs. Here are a few examples:
- A Tribal applicant who qualifies at the 90 percent discount rate that receives a five percent federal grant would also be eligible for an additional five percent from the E-Rate program.
- A Tribal applicant at the 90 percent discount rate who receives a federal grant for seven percent of the remaining costs would be eligible for an additional three percent from the E-Rate program.
- A Tribal applicant at the 80 percent discount rate that receives a Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program funding to cover 10 percent of the cost would be eligible for an additional 10 percent from the E-Rate program.
Note: The state/Tribal discount match applies only to special construction, the funding needed to construct facilities beyond normal installation charges.
Libraries shall provide the total area for all floors, in square feet, of each library outlet separately, including all areas enclosed by the outer walls of the library outlet and occupied by the library, including those areas off-limits to the public. Examples include, but are not limited to, space for servers, boilers, stairwells, janitorial supplies, inventory/receiving spaces, etc. Outdoor space that is used for programming cannot be included in this C2 square footage calculation. Areas outside of the library’s walls are excluded from being calculated in the E-Rate C2 budget.
Tribal College and University (TCU) libraries eligible under E-Rate (i.e., they are also available for public use) shall provide the square footage as explained above for the TCU library only. TCU libraries should exclude any square footage outside of the library (e.g., classroom buildings or dormitories).
Square footage for bookmobiles is calculated based on the area enclosed by the outer walls of the bookmobile.
Wi-Fi coverage outside of the physical library location is only allowed if they tangentially occur when establishing the most cost-effective solution for the library building. It does not need to be cost allocated when used on the library campus.