Construction:  June has been a busy month, the Ponca Tribe is working on construction of their new computer lab, teen area and cultural area.  They continue to be thankful to their new USDA community facilities grant that is allowing them to purchase the technology for the library and tearing down of walls.   The USDA Community Facilities Direct Loan and Grant Program recognizes libraries and museums as essential services in communities and works with Federally recognize Tribes (It is now open):  Ponca Tribe had an area specialist that visited with them from the state agency.  The USDA Community facilities program can be a loan or grant based on your community profile.  

Internet:  As a Tribal library, the Ponca Tribe does qualify for e-rate.  The filing of e-rate forms, wording and terminology can be confusing.  (We seem to live in a world of abbreviations just like USDA and USAC.)  Since the Ponca Tribe did not have fiber in their library, one form is for internet and one form is for hardware, fortunately Mackenzie Howard, Program Analyst and Tribal Liaison at USAC, does offer one on one help as needed. The savings for the Ponca Tribe will be substantial. The good news is that most of the time – libraries only must do one form for the internet – the e-rate and not new construction.  

There is a monthly Native e-rate training call schedule the first Wednesday of each month at 4 PM Eastern time. Here is a link to register for the monthly calls and additional resources are on the site.   I encourage all tribal libraries to attend the calls, to help understand and get ready to file for e-rate.    The discounts are based on the % of students that qualify for discounted and free lunches at the schools in your district.  It is easy to find out what that % is by visiting your state department of education and then putting your school district or name.  (The school sites can be a wealth of information that will also help with statistics for other needs too. Many of the school statistics were used by the Ponca Tribe to apply for the USDA grant.)