Generally Grants
By: Samantha Smith
Every public entity is feeling the pressure of financial burden. With the current economy many organizations are searching for ways to make ends meet. Public libraries are included in this long list of organizations that are slowly having their government funding slowly whittled away. Because of this, libraries are searching for other ways of procuring funding. One of these ways is through grants.
According to Merriam-Webster, 2013, a grant is “an amount of money that is given to someone [in this case a library] by a government, a company, etc., to be used for a particular purpose (such as scientific research).” This means that one way for libraries to obtain extra money for a particular purpose, they can do so through obtaining a grant from a group that is looking to help a library. This can be a daunting process though. There are many grants available to be applied for, and because the financial crisis is effecting so many different organizations, there is a lot of competition over those grants that are available.
There are many actions librarians can take to make it more likely that they will be able to obtain the grants they apply for.
  1. 1. Persistence. If you are going to wade into the ocean of grants that can be applied for, the first trait you need is to be persistent (Alexander, 2012). The sheer volume of grants that are available can be incredibly overwhelming. It is important to continue looking at the options available to you until you find a grant that your needs fit in with. Maxwell, a teacher-librarian, recommends looking for grants in professional magazines and journals. Many grants advertise there, so they are great places to start looking for grants. It also does not hurt to talk to different local businesses or other corporations to see if they offer or are looking to offer grants.
  2. 2. Email. Do not forget to continue to check your email often when looking for and applying for grants. Grant opportunities can often be announced through email and if you do not check your email frequently, one of those opportunities may slip through the cracks(Alexander, 2012).
  3. 3. Every Little Bit Helps. Grants come in many different sizes. There are some grants that are for thousands of dollars, and some that may only be for a few hundred dollars. You may be tempted to only apply for the larger grants, but those will be more difficult to win, as there will be more competition for those grants. Applying for the smaller may not be as exciting as the larger grants, but they will usually have fewer applicants to choose from. This means that you may be more likely to obtain those grants than the larger ones (Alexander, 2012). Even if it is only a $500 grant, that $500 could go a long way for program supplies or new books.
  4. 4. Be Committed. If you are applying for a grant from an organization that you are a member of, be sure that you have made a commitment to this organization through volunteering to help out with events or taking notes at meetings (Alexander, 2012). There are many ways to show this. If it is not a group that you are affiliated with, show your commitment through letters of interest and personal statements to the organization. Talking up yourself and the group may just help keep your grant application in mind.
  5. 5. Use Discretion. When you are choosing which grants to apply to, it is important to only apply for grants that are relevant to your library. Do not apply for grants that may not fill your need or you their requirements. It is important to not waste your time, or the organizations time (Alexander, 2012). If you only apply for the grants that are relevant to your needs, you will be far more likely to win the grant and receive the funding you are looking for.
  6. 6. Read and Read Again. When researching the different grants that are out there, it is important to read the descriptions incredibly carefully (Alexander, 2012). By reading the descriptions and directions carefully, not only will you know if you are qualified to win the grant, but you will also have an idea of how to write your personal statement specifically to the grant. You do not want to include information the organization is not looking for, as the extra information may cause the organization to over-look you (Maxwell, 2005). For example, if the organization is looking to give a grant to a library to be use purely for books, you can and should discuss the types of books you would purchase with the funding, and why you would purchase those books (to update your non-fiction section perhaps). You should not, however, discuss any programing that may result from that purchase (such as book discussions and school visits to use the new books). This may cause the grant giver to feel concerned that the grant money would go towards something other than books.
  7. 7. Letters of Recommendation. This is a truly important part of the application process. You want to choose colleagues who would be able to tell the organization why you would be the best recipient for the grant. You would need someone who can show a “well-rounded perspective” of who you are so that the organization can see you as a person who will use those funds wisely (Alexander, 2012). Other things to look for in someone who will write a letter of recommendation are:
    1. a. Someone who can thoroughly express your strengths
    2. b. Someone who can show how the grant would benefit you and your group
Some ways to help out whoever is writing your recommendations are (Alexander, 2012):
  1. a. Give them a copy of the guidelines of the grant
  2. b. Provide a copy of your resume and personal statement
  3. c. An example of why you have chosen that person to write the letter (ie. A list of projects and programs you have worked on)
  4. d. Due date to have the letter completed
  5. 8. Personal Statement. According to Andrea Alexander, librarian and successful grant applicant, your personal statement should have three parts: “explain why you want the money, why you deserve the money and how you fit the criteria laid out by the grant or scholarship parameters”. By showing how this grant could help the future success of your library and even your community, you could differentiate yourself from other applicants, giving you an edge in the selection process. Write your personal statement with the grant committee in mind and address their needs as well as your own, as this grant is not just about your needs. Giving your project an interesting and catchy name can also be helpful (Maxwell, 2005).
    1. a. Show Your Financial Need. If you are going to earn this funding from the organization, it is important to show your financial need to the grant committee. Having specific numbers and figures would show your need much more effectively and specifically than being vague about your financial need.
    2. b. Be Personal. As important as showing your financial need is, it is also important to be personal about why you need the money as well. Giving personal details about yourself and your community can benefit you in your quest for the grant. Being personal can be more emotionally captivating than if you just mention the numbers (Alexander, 2012). It also humanizes you. Do not dwell on the negatives that might be a part of your resume, but try to stay positive or move on quickly from the negatives you may address in the personal statement.
    3. 9. It’s in the Details! Pay attention to the details of the grant. Make sure you fill everything out completely and accurately, and have all aspects of the grant in on time. If you turn in an application early, follow up with the person who is supposed to receive it to make sure it made it to them all right (Alexander, 2012).
10.Follow Up. After turning in the grant application, this is the time to follow up with those who helped you with it. Thank those who wrote letters of recommendations for you, or looked over your resume and personal statements. Hand-written thank you notes would be best. Once you find out the result of the application, let those who helped you know if you received the grant or not. Do not forget to thank the grant committee itself!

Grants can be incredibly daunting. They have the ability to help improve your library through funding new programs, or improving collections you already have. However, by taking these ten steps, being creative and detail-oriented, obtaining a grant is possible.

Curated by: Teresa Nunez

Grant Writing for Youth Services on the Wiki.

Is Time for Grant Writing!!!
This space was created to help youth service librarians to help facilitate the frustrations in writing grant proposals. Here you will find valuable tips and information to help meet your goals in creating successful grant writing proposals that will surely get you the grant for your library to build upon your current collection.

Due to budget cuts librarians are forced to find ways of gaining new materials for their libraries. Writing a grant can become very time consuming and very intimidating if you never done one. I have tried to provide very helpful tips to help alleviate some of the stress when writing a grant proposal. The first thing You want to make sure you do is to research community the library is serving and what are the needs within that community. Calvin Hennick* wrote an article, in where he interviews experts and teachers whom have managed to acquire several grants to meet the needs of their users.

Basically, he breaks it down into ten steps:
  1. State Your Need: Do not write a shopping list just write what the struggles are and how the new materials will help achieve those needs.
  2. Start Small, Start Locally: Try looking for community educational foundation, local businesses.
  3. Do the homework: Do the research on the grant funder. Such as what do they fund, what have they funded in the past?
  4. Be Creative: When writing the grant proposal be creative by using catching headings.
  5. Collaborate with others: Seek colleagues to team up with you to throw in ideas or who have had some experience in writing grants.
  6. Provide Data: Provide to donors before and after data or provide videos, photos and correspondences from students and parents of the success.
  7. Watch Your Spelling: Have others proof read your proposal, use appropriate fonts, and make sure you meet deadlines.
  8. Create a relationship with funder: Take pictures of what the funding was able to provide and sent it with a note thanking them for the donations. You can invite them to visit to see the results of their contribution.
  9. Use Networking: Sharing a special request from friends and family to come and visit a special program and see if they are willing to help fund some of these programs.
  10. Never Give UP!!! Even if you get rejected never give up use is as a learning experience and try for other grants.

*Hennick, Calvin. “How to Get the Grant.” Instructor 123 1 (2013): 51-54. Education Full Text

For additional information, the table below provides a list of website that will give you helpful information and tips.

Grant Supplemental Sites
Grant Writing Sites
URL and Details
Grant Writing Tutorial

Details: This site provides some tutorial for grant writing.
Grant Craft

Details: Grant Craft is a source of practical wisdom from grant makers on the tools and techniques of effective grant making. Grant Craft offers guides, videos, and case studies that present the practitioner's view of philanthropy, on subjects like practice and methods that make grants more effective, insights into relations between grantees and grantors lessons about how to organize grant-making work for best results.
Guide for Writing a Funding Proposal

Details: Guide was created to help people become successful in gaining grants for their needs.

Details: Provides professional consulting, materials and training for grant and proposal writing. Packed with free info and links to major funding sources.
OCLC Webjunction The learning place for libraries

Details: A recorded webinar about finding, writing and submiting grant proposals.
Grant Space
A Service of the Foundation Center.

Details: List of Webinars that are recorded that provides infomation on finding funders, Grant seeking Basics, Best Practice of Reporting with Grantors, and plenty of other informative webinars to help you become a better grant seeker and writer.

Now that your ready to write a grant proposal, you can view the table below it contains a list of website that provides several grants that are available for Collection Development, Programming, and Technology. You can read about the grant and their requirements and apply for them.

Collection Development Grants
These grants are available to strengthen different areas of the libraries collection. Librarians know the needs of their library collection and therefore can apply to fill in those gaps by seeking grants that will fulfill the need of their library collection. There are plenty of grants that will give money to purchase print materials as well as grants that will give libraries the actual books.

Details: (Collection Development Grants)
American Library Association's awards and grants area.
BWI/YALSA Collection Development Grant
Details: (Collection Development Grants)
To award $1,000 for collection development to YALSA members who represent a public library and who work directly with young adults ages 12 to 18. Up to two grants will be awarded annually.
The Libri Foundation
Details: (Collection Development Grants)
The Libri Foundation was established in 1989 for the sole purpose of helping rural libraries acquire new, quality, hardcover children's books they could not otherwise afford to buy. Since October 1990, the Foundation has donated over $2,800,000 worth of new children's books to more than 2,200 libraries in 48 states.
Library of Congress Surplus Book Program
Details: (Collection Development Grants)
The Library of Congress has surplus books available to non-profit organizations. The books are a mixture of topics with only a small percentage of publications at the primary and secondary school levels. Your library needs to send or designate someone to choose books from the collection and pay for shipping the material.
Verizon Foundation: Literacy
Details: (Collection Development Grants)
To help move America to a more literate society, Verizon uses a combination of corporate philanthropy, employee participation, celebrity volunteers, partnerships with literacy organizations and contributions from our customers. In 2005, Verizon awarded more than 900 literacy grants totaling more than $13 million.
Young Adult Library Services AssociationBooks for Teens
Details: (Collection Development Grants)
Grant is available for libraries who are serving high percentage of high poverty stricken teens while promoting reading and help with attaining library cards.
Bookapalooza Program
Details: (Collection Development Grants)
Three libraries are selected to receive a collection of materials which may consist of books, videos and audio books. These material are house in the ALSC’s office then sent out to the winning libraries to be able to receive the next year publications.
Programming Grants

These grants are available for Children Library Programming. Some of the grants can be used to fund a particular program or event in the library. There are several of grants that are available to improve the lives of youths, help youth develop particular skills, or grants to help youth become great leaders. What ever is the desired need there is a grant available to meet those needs

Details: (Programming Grants)

Makes grants of $10-$100K to schools and youth-service organizations to support education, specifically in the areas of science, technology, engineering, mathematics, the environment, job training, and literacy. The foundation says grantees exhibit the basic tenets of the Honda companies: imaginative, creative, youthful, forward-thinking, scientific, humanistic, and innovative.

Details: (Programming Grants)
The Starbucks Foundation believes in developing young people to become extraordinary leaders, by investing in the leadership skills required for the changing global economy.
Find Youth Info

Details: (Programming Grants)
This database gives you one stop for information about more than 100 sources of federal funding for after-school and youth development programming. For each of the programs listed in the database, you will find a brief description of the kinds of activities that can be funded, along with information about the application process, and contact information (web site addresses and telephone numbers).
Association for Library Services to ChildrenMaureen Hayes Author/Illustrator Award

Details: (Programming Grants)

An Award that offers the opportunity to have children meet a recognizable author or illustrator at their library.
Institute of Museums and Library Services
Sparks Ignition Grant for Libraries

Details: (Programming Grants)

Small grant for libraries to test a specific, innovative response to the identified problem and present a plan to make the findings widely and openly accessible.
Association for Library Services to Children

Details: (Programming Grants)

Grant for Summer Reading Program
(they also then give awards for exemplar programs that received the grant.)

Technology Grants
These grants are great for funding upgrading computers and pays for databases that are very costly that the library is unable to purchase due to restrictive funding. These grants allow you to have the same great benefits as a well funded library.

The MacArthur Foundation
Digital Media and Learning

Details: (Technology Grants)
“The MacArthur Foundation’s digital media and learning initiative aims to determine how digital media are changing the way young people learn, play, socialize, and participate in civic life. Answers are critical to education and other social institutions that must meet the needs of this and future generations.”

American Honda Foundation
American Honda Foundation Grants

Details: (Technology Grants)
“The American Honda Foundation engages in grant making that reflects the basic tenets, beliefs and philosophies of Honda companies, which are characterized by the following qualities: imaginative, creative, youthful, forward-thinking, scientific, humanistic and innovative. We support youth education with a specific focus on the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects in addition to the environment. “

Verizon Foundation
Verizon Foundation Grants

Details: (Technology Grants)
The Verizon Foundation gives $66 million in grant funding annually. Non-profit organizations and groups are eligible for grant funding. The program funds educational programs, health care, and sustainability. Public libraries and public schools are eligible for funding through one of these grants.

Toolbox for Education Grants

Details: (Technology Grants)
“It's almost that easy when you take advantage of Lowe's Toolbox for Education grant program. Lowe's Charitable and Educational Foundation (LCEF) knows how hard you work for your kids and your community and we're dedicated to helping your parent-teacher group achieve even more for your school. Apply for our Toolbox for Education Grant now and build on your already impressive parent group success with Lowe's.”
Each grant awards up to $5000 for a school program.

Gale Cengage Learning
The Gale/Library Media Connection TEAMS Award

Details: (Technology Grants)
“The Gale/Library Media Connection TEAMS Award recognizes and encourages the critical collaboration between the teacher and media specialist to promote learning and increase student achievement. The awards are given every two years.”

If you would like to contribute to this list of grant sources email me at the following email address:

General Resources that help you plan for and write Grant Proposals:
These sources were chosen for this compilation because they were featured on Library-based websites, referred to in professionally published literature about writing grants for libraries, and/or were reviewed in Library and Information Science publications such as Booklist.

Web Sources:

Kent State Adult Literacy Program-List of Tips for writing grants

Wallace Foundation
Although they are not currently handing out grants for libraries, they did complete a $40 million project concerning the essential nature of libraries in the education of the young and you can access the research and outcomes of this grant-based project from this link. Excellent to cite these studies if you are asked to prove how library services support and enhance the education of children, K-12.

Print Sources:

Winning Grants: A How-To-Do-It Manual For Librarians With Multimedia Tutorials And Grant Development Tools
By Pamela H. MacKellar and Stephanie K. Gerding
ISBN 978-1-55570-700-2. 2010. 275 pp. Neil Shuman. Book and Multimedia DVD: $99.95.
Companion Website:

Writing for a Good Cause: The Complete Guide to Crafting Proposals and Other Persuasive Pieces for Nonprofits
By Joseph Barbato and Danielle Furlich
ISBN 978-0684857404. 2000. 332 pp. Touchstone. $16.99.

The Only Grant-Writing Book You'll Ever Need: Top Grant Writers and Grant Givers Share Their Secrets
By Ellen Karsh and Arlen Sue Fox
ISBN 978-0465018697. 2009. 448 pp. Basic Books (3rd Edition.) $19.95.

Grants For School Libraries. Westport, Conn.: Libraries Unlimited, 2003.
By Hall-Ellis, Sylvia D. Jerabek, Ann.
This is an incredibly detailed guide for writing grants, it breaks down the most common components of a grant proposals into specific parts and explains how to do everything from write the section to completing calculations that a section of the proposal may require. It also includes tips, FAQs, overviews of Federal Grant Programs, and more!

Kepler, Ann. The ALA Book of Library Grant Money. Chicago: ALA Editions, 2012.
This book represents the most recent addition of the ALA’s “directory” of school library and other library grants. Always be certain that when you are using something like a directory that is as up-to-date as possible, anything more than 2 calendar years old should not be used.

Landau, Herbert B. Winning Library Grants: A Game Plan. Chicago: American Library Association, 2011.
This book focuses on getting libraries to partner with other community stakeholders when it comes to applying for grants. The author uses her own experiences and a “guide” format to help you determine what type(s) of organizations to partner with, how to formulate working relationships with them, and how to work together so that the grant writing and implementation process can be mutually beneficial.

Smallwood, Carol, eds. Librarians As Community Partners: An Outreach Handbook. Chicago: American Library Association, 2010.
This book is a collection of individually written essays about outreach programs for all types of libraries and user groups (from adults to kids, from English Language Learners to Incarcerated Youth.) Of particular interest to this wiki is Chapter 7: Small Grants Can Have Big Rewards by Chelsea Dinsmore, which is a good reminder that no matter how big or small the cash amount of the grant—any program you are able to fund properly, implement fully and evaluate properly, help to promote the library as an essential part of any community.


Jones, Patrick. "Showing You The Money: LSTA Funds And Fifty-Two Resources To Find Funding For Youth Services In Libraries." Journal Of Youth Services In Libraries 15.1 (2001): 33-38. Library Literature & Information Science Full Text (H.W. Wilson). Web. 30 Oct. 2012.
While this article is a few years old, it have some pretty amazing lists of organizations that have given grants to libraries in the past. It also has some GREAT writing tips. Much more concise than the books posted in this section of the wiki, good for a quick reference.

Anderson, Cynthia and Kathi Knop. "Go Where The Grants Are." Library Media Connection 27.1 (2008): 10-14. Library & Information Science Source Web. 11 Nov. 2013
Great article about organizing your research and tips on finding funders, List type of grants available and valuable information about resources to use to help find grantors.
Carnow, Gary. "Grant-writing Tips." Tech and Learning.
Pull-out poster, great for posting in your staff office as a quick reference.

Clearinghouse Sites:

These sites require searching, you have to know what kind of grant you are looking for OR you can browse listings to see what types of grants you might want to apply for. This is not an exhaustive list, please submit other “clearinghouse” type sites so we can add them to the wiki!

US Government:
Non-profit Gateway:


Alexander, A., & Richardson, E. (2012). Show Me (How to Get) the Money!. AALL Spectrum, 17(2), 13-15.

Anderson, Cynthia and Kathi Knop. "Go Where The Grants Are." Library Media Connection 27.1 (2008): 10-14. Library & Information Science Source Web. 11 Nov. 2013

Hennick, Calvin. “How to Get the Grant.” Instructor 123 1 (2013): 51-54. Education Full Text

Grant. (2013). Retrieved from

Jones, Patrick. "Showing You The Money: LSTA Funds And Fifty-Two Resources To Find Funding For Youth Services In Libraries." Journal Of Youth Services In Libraries 15.1 (2001): 33-38. Library Literature & Information Science Full Text (H.W. Wilson). Web. 30 Oct. 2012.

Maxwell, D. (2005). Money, Money, Money: Taking the Pain Out of Grant Writing.

Teacher Librarian, 32(3), 16-21.