Budgets are tight for libraries statewide, and nationwide. Sometimes (if not more often!) you’d like more funding, materials, staff, and equipment for youth programs and collections. You are already resourceful, but here are a few ideas and sources for grants, in-kind contributions, and more.
What are some grant sources?
This is a big topic, but here’s a start.
- The Library Grants blog is a great place to start. The bloggers post a new grant appropriate for libraries every week or so; it includes many aimed at youth programs.
- The Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) offers a wide range of grants, scholarships, stipends and more to librarians who serve young adults.
- The Association for Library Service for Children (ALSC) also offers many grants and awards.
- The Scholastic website offers a long list of grants for libraries.
- The Colorado AfterSchool Network provides resources for after-school funding opportunities available to Colorado organizations.
Just a few of the many specific national grant programs for youth programs and collections:
- The Libri Foundation
- W. K. Kellogg Foundation
- We the People Bookshelf (National Endowment for the Humanities & ALA)
- Coming Up Taller Awards
- Wells Fargo
- Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy
- Corporation for National & Community Service
There are some fantastic local/statewide/regional organizations that offer grant programs, too (these are statewide; there are many more regional and local opportunities):
What resources are available to learn more about grants?
There are many online resources that provide basic grant writing steps and tips, like:
- Grant Proposal Writing Tips from Corporation for Public Broadcasting
- The Foundation Center offers free webinars on grant writing basics.
- Colorado Grants
- Grants for libraries: A how-to-do-it manual by Stephanie K. Gerding, Pamela H. MacKellar. New York: Neal-Schuman Publishers, 2006.
- Available through the CO Department of Education’s Professional Collection!
How can we seek in-kind contributions?
Depending on your library’s situation, it may be best to work closely with your Friends group on these ideas.
- Approach local businesses for in-kind donations, or ask for discounts. Try for everything from pizzas for an end of the SRP teen party to discounts on books to gift certificates to free/ reduced cost ads in the newspaper or radio.
- Ask local organizations, like Kiwanis, Rotary Club, Lions Club, churches, etc, to donate volunteer time or items like bikes and office supplies.
- Seek volunteer help all over your community, including high schools!
- For large events, like an SRP, author programs, or movie series, ask for community sponsors; these can be individuals, businesses, nonprofits, or other organizations.
- Create a wish list or needs list and advertise it in your newsletter, website, and flyers. The list can include specific items like a laminator or large screen monitor, a call for volunteers for an event, or general or specific craft supplies. If you don’t mind receiving gently used items, include that info for a better success rate. For specific items, this approach sometimes works better than a general call for cash donations.
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