Frequently Asked Questions


Question: Can Lunch at the Library award funds be used for virtual programming?

Lunch at the Library funds are intended to:

  • support libraries in supplying nutrition/meals to children and teens in low income communities
  • connect these children and teens and their families to the resources of the library with the purpose of providing opportunities for learning, exploration and enrichment.

We realize that COVID-19 restrictions pose challenges. We ask that libraries focus on spending funds in ways that will most directly serve the children and teens receiving free meals at library and community grab-and-go sites and to be mindful of those that are not digitally connected.

  • If you feel that your digital program idea will be accessible to, and is designed with the families receiving free summer meals in mind, a portion of your funds may go towards virtual programming (including the purchase of equipment needed to create a digital program). If there is an alternate stream of funds available for these purchases, we ask that you rely on those funds.
  • If Lunch at the Library funds are your only means to create digital programming and you opt to use a portion of these funds to create digital programming, you are required to promote these digital programs to the children, teens and families at free meal sites. You may use a portion of your funds for this promotion. Any digital programming created using Lunch at the Library funds must include information about where families can get free meals in the community so that your virtual programs clearly connect to Lunch at the Library program efforts. (This information can be shared prior to or just following the program.)
  • Please be mindful of ensuring that the greatest portion of your funds go to directly connecting children and teens with meals, and connecting the children, teens and families that participate in meal programs with learning and enrichment opportunities. Activities such as free book giveaways, providing outreach materials promoting your libraries existing digital programs and resources or summer reading program, take-away activities, paper summer reading logs/game boards, etc. will ensure that what you are providing is getting into the hands of those children, teens and families in greatest need.

Question: Can Lunch at the Library award funds be used to purchase an online summer reading platform such as Beanstack, Bookpoints, Wandoo Reader, or READsquared?

Lunch at the Library award funds should not be used to purchase an online summer reading platform. The California State Library and CLA have partnered with Beanstack to offer all California public libraries a free Beanstack subscription. For more information and to sign up, please visit: https://calchallenge.org/beanstack-literacy-tool/

Lunch at the Library grant funds for Summer 2020

The application period for Lunch at the Library grant funds for Summer 2020 closed Friday, January 31st, 2020. Award notifications took place by March 1st, 2020.

Lunch at the Library funds are intended to support the enhancement and expansion of California’s 2020 library-based summer meal partnerships and programs.

Summer 2020 funding opportunities include:

  • Seed funds for library jurisdictions starting a summer meal program for the first time in 2020.
  • Expansion funds for library jurisdictions already serving summer meals seeking to open new summer meal sites in order to expand the number of branches serving summer meals.
  • Pop-up library programming funds to support library jurisdictions enhancing local non-library community meal sites with pop-up library programming. A library does not need to be serving summer meals to apply for pop-up library funding.
  • Enhancement/programming funds for existing summer meal sites seeking to enhance their summer meal program(s). Programming funds may be used for program facilitation and staffing, program supplies to support self-directed and/or facilitated programming, for operational and other high-priority summer meal needs. Examples of self-directed or facilitated programming are:  S.T.E.A.M. activities; nutrition, fitness & wellness activities; early childhood & family literacy; music & theater; summer reading; youth development activities.)
  • Youth development funds to support a teen volunteer/internship program.*

Eligibility:

  • Funds for establishing and enhancing summer meal sites are available for California public libraries serving summer meals in 2020.
  • Pop-up library funds are available to all California public libraries interested in extending their outreach efforts by taking library programming to a community meal site (school meal sites, parks & recreation meal sites, etc.). A library does not need to be serving summer meals to apply for pop-up library funding.

The Lunch at the Library grant funds are distributed among participating libraries to maximize the benefit to as many library communities as possible, statewide.

Along with these funds grant staff will provide evaluation tools so libraries can demonstrate the impact of their summer programming.