Big Grant Opportunities for Small Libraries



The Institute of Museum and Library Services has launched a new special initiative, Accelerating Promising Practices for Small Libraries (APP), and is accepting grant applications now through February 25, 2019.

This new funding opportunity is designed specifically to strengthen the ability of small and rural libraries, archives, and related organizations to serve their communities; awards will range from $10,000 to $50,000.

The initiative is in line with the IMLS Strategic Plan 2018-2022, Transforming Communities, which includes goals of lifelong learning, increasing public access, and building capacity. APP is a special initiative of National Leadership Grants for Libraries, which support projects that enhance the quality of library and archives services nationwide by advancing theory and practice.

Three categories of APP grants are available to applicants:

  • Transforming School Library Practice: School libraries support learning and the development of critical thinking, creativity, and collaboration skills. IMLS is interested in furthering how school library professionals can serve as integral instructional partners to classroom teachers. Grant projects could include programs and services that prepare students for success in college, career, and life, or foster early, digital, information, health, financial, media, civic, and other types of literacies.
  • Community Memory: Libraries and archives not only serve as stewards of our nation’s knowledge and collections, but also as trusted spaces for community engagement and dialogue. This project category centers on engaging local communities in the collection, documentation, and preservation of their local histories, experiences, and identities. Proposals could include events and programs to digitize materials related to community histories, such as photographs, artifacts, or texts, or oral history projects that involve community members in the documentation and preservation of local histories.
  • Digital Inclusion: Libraries have an important role in promoting digital inclusion and increasing access to information, ideas, and networks. This category focuses on projects that support the role libraries play in promoting digital literacy, providing internet access, and enabling community engagement through civic data and civic technology. Grant proposals could include programs supporting broadband access and wireless networks to address the homework gap, increase small business development and entrepreneurship, or plan for emergency preparedness.

Grantees in this initiative will participate in communities of practice based on their project category. Three third-party mentor organizations will lead these cohorts, providing expert guidance and facilitating communication between grantees.

Two pre-application webinars will be held with program staff to answer questions from potential applicants. Recordings of the webinars will also be made available on the IMLS website. The webinars, which will each cover the same material, are scheduled for:

For information about how to participate in the webinars or to access the webinar recordings, see the IMLS webinar page.

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