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Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners Resource Guide Collection

LSTA Grant Management Guide: Carrying out your project

Pre-project activities

We recommend any preliminary work that does not require funds be done in the late summer months or very early fall. Possibilities include:

  • Notifying other departments or officials who will be responsible for the financial and contractual obligations associated with the grant.
  • Creating and/or administering any measurement tools, such as surveys.
  • Gathering any baseline statistics you will need.
  • Starting or continuing to work with advisory committees.
  • Researching programs to see who is available. Do not sign any contracts until October 1 or before your paperwork has been finalized with us.
  • Creating a list of selected materials to buy so that when funds are available, your orders are ready to go.

Project changes

You need written approval from your project consultant for programmatic or budgetary changes. This means that you must submit any changes in your project from those stated in the original proposal in writing and receive approval. Speak with your consultant to determine what changes you will need approval for with your project. 

Funding guidelines

Allowable costs for your grant must follow the applicable federal cost principles outlined in the 2 CFR 200. Any questions about allowability should be directed to your MBLC consultant. Below is a quick summary highlighting some common examples of what you cannot do with LSTA funds.

  • Lobby (not even for your local budget)
  • Hire entertainment for a program that is not educational in nature or tied in with your program
  • Construction
  • Give away promotional items – such as key chains, refrigerator magnets, T-shirts, mugs
  • Give away books
  • Buy computer hardware or other equipment that accesses the Internet unless you comply with CIPA —The Children's Internet Protection Act
  • Do public relations or advertising for library services in general. You may do public relations and advertising for specific services you have provided with LSTA funds.


  • You should not spend or pledge any funds until your contracts have been finalized AND never before October 1.
  • Your match can cover expenses not permitted with LSTA funds.
  • All grant funds must be expended by September 30.

Prohibition on certain telecommunications equipment

Federal law prohibits using LSTA funds for certain telecommunication services and equipment produced by specific companies, subsidiaries, or affiliates.

Details on those limitations can be found here.

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