Category Archives: Grants

Applications Still Open! CE & Training Grants 2021

Applications are still open for the 2021 Continuing Education and Training Grants!

Continuing Education Grants. Due 12/09/20. Web address: nlc.nebraska.gov/grants/ce/

The purpose of these grants is to assist Nebraska libraries in improving the library services provided to their communities through continuing education and training for their library personnel and supporters. This year, the Nebraska Library Commission is offering grants for online learning courses, attending conferences (in-person or virtually), and for larger staff or board member training projects.

Applications must be submitted electronically by 11:59 p.m. CST on December 9, 2020. Faxes and U.S. mail will not be accepted. We will inform applicants whether they have received a grant on or before January 6, 2021.

The applicant must be either 1) employed in an accredited Nebraska public library or a state-run institutional library at the time of application and for the duration of the grant, or 2) a current board member of an accredited Nebraska public library at the time of application and for the duration of the grant.

More details about the grant and application requirements are available on the Continuing Education Grants page. If you have any questions, please contact Holli Duggan, Continuing Education Coordinator.

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Call for Speakers: Big Talk From Small Libraries 2021

The Call for Speakers for the 10th annual Big Talk From Small Libraries is now open!

This free one-day online conference is aimed at librarians from small libraries; the smaller the better! We are looking for speakers from small libraries or speakers who directly work with small libraries. Small libraries of all types – public, academic, school, museum, special, etc. – are encouraged to submit a proposal. We’re looking for seven 50-minute presentations and five 10-minute “lightning round” presentations.

Do you offer a service or program at your small library that other librarians might like to hear about? Have you implemented a new (or old) technology, hosted an event, partnered with others in your community, or just done something really cool? The Big Talk From Small Libraries online conference gives you the opportunity to share what you’ve done, while learning what your colleagues in other small libraries are doing.

Here are some possible topics to get you thinking:

  • Unique Libraries
  • Special Collections
  • New buildings
  • Fundraising
  • Improved Workflows
  • Staff Development
  • Advocacy Efforts
  • Community Partnerships
  • That great thing you’re doing at your library!

Submit your proposal by Friday, January 8, 2021.

Speakers from libraries serving fewer than 10,000 people will be preferred, but presentations from libraries with larger service populations will be considered.

Big Talk From Small Libraries 2021 will be held on Friday, February 26, 2021 between 8:45 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. (CT) via the GoToWebinar online meeting service. Speakers will present their programs from their own desktops. The schedule will accommodate speakers’ time-zones.

This conference is organized and hosted by the Nebraska Library Commission and is co-sponsored by the Association for Rural & Small Libraries.

Photo by Patrick Fore on Unsplash

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NCompass Live: Finding Grants for Libraries in Unexpected Places

We’ll be ‘Finding Grants for Libraries in Unexpected Places’ on next week’s FREE NCompass Live webinar, on Wednesday, October 7 at 10am CT.

Budgets allocated to public libraries are sometimes not enough to provide the services, materials, and engaging programming that library staff want to provide. Luckily, there are other funding opportunities available, if you just know where to look. You may know about many library specific grants, but libraries are also eligible for other grants that might not be so obvious. In this session, we will learn to think outside the box to find grants for your library.

Presenter: Christa Porter, Library Development Director, Nebraska Library Commission.

Upcoming NCompass Live shows:

  • Oct. 21 – Migrating to an Open-Source ILS in an Academic Library: How to Celebrate Successes and Bounce Back from Problems
  • Oct. 28 – Pretty Sweet Tech
  • Tues. Nov. 10 – Creating an Open Educational Resource: Grenzenlos Deutsch, German Language Online Curriculum

For more information, to register for NCompass Live, or to listen to recordings of past events, go to the NCompass Live webpage.

NCompass Live is broadcast live every Wednesday from 10am – 11am Central Time. Convert to your time zone on the Official U.S. Time website. The show is presented online using the GoToWebinar online meeting service. Before you attend a session, please see the NLC Online Sessions webpage for detailed information about GoToWebinar, including system requirements, firewall permissions, and equipment requirements for computer speakers and microphones.

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Flash CE Grant!

We are opening applications for just one week to cover registration costs to attend the Iowa Library Association’s virtual conference on October 15th!

ILA has extended a special $50 registration rate for Nebraska Library Association (NLA) members. Non-members can register for $80 or Trustees for only $20.

More information about the conference can be found at the links below:

CE Grant Details:

  • The applicant must be either 1) employed in an accredited Nebraska public library or a state-run institutional library at the time of application, or 2) a current board member of an accredited Nebraska public library. You do not need to be a member of NLA to apply.
  • These are for individuals only (no group applications).
  • Applications are due by 11:59 pm (CST) on Wednesday, October 7th.
  • You will also need to submit a separate indication of support form.
  • Applicants will be notified on Thursday, October 8th.
  • You must register for the conference by Monday, October 12th.

Apply Now!

Note: This mini-round of CE grants is separate from our 2021 Continuing Education grants which will be available for applications starting on Monday, October 5th and will be open for online learning, other out-of-state conferences, and larger CE projects. For more information on those grant opportunities, please see our main CE Grants Information page.

If you have any questions, please contact Holli Duggan.

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Libraries Transforming Communities: A Special Grant Opportunity for Small and Rural Libraries

The American Library Association (ALA) invites libraries in small and rural communities to apply for grant funding to help them address issues of concern in their communities.

Through ‘Libraries Transforming Communities: Focus on Small and Rural Libraries’, up to 650 U.S. libraries in small and rural communities will receive $3,000 each to tackle issues ranging from media literacy to COVID-19 safety to unemployment. Grants will be awarded in two waves in 2020 and 2021.

Applications will be accepted from Sept. 21 to Dec. 2, 2020 at http://www.ala.org/tools/librariestransform/libraries-transforming-communities/focusgrants

Selected libraries will develop their facilitation skills through online training, talk with community members (virtually or in-person) about local needs, and undertake a project that benefits their community. Grant funds may cover a range of expenses, from hotspot purchases to personal protective equipment to staff time to undertake community engagement work.

Grant recipients will also receive a copy of “Ask, Listen, Empower: Grounding Your Library Work in Community Engagement,” edited by Mary Davis Fournier and Sarah Ostman (ALA Editions, 2020).

Community engagement is the process of working collaboratively with community members – be they library patrons, residents, faculty, students or partner organizations – to address issues for the betterment of the community.

In February, ALA released a set of free professional development materials to help workers in small and rural libraries prepare for and lead discussions and overcome common challenges that arise when people gather to speak in groups. Available materials include:

‘Libraries Transforming Communities: Focus on Small and Rural Libraries’ is part of ALA’s longtime commitment to preparing library workers for the expanding role of libraries. The initiative is offered in partnership with the Association for Rural & Small Libraries (ARSL). It is supported by a private donor and the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).

Questions? Contact the American Library Association (ALA) Public Programs Office staff at 1-800-545-2433, ext. 5045, or publicprograms@ala.org

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NCompass Live: NLC Grants for 2021

Do you have a program or project you would like to see funded? Learn how to apply for the ‘NLC Grants for 2021’ on next week’s FREE NCompass Live webinar on Wednesday, September 23 at 10am CT.

The Nebraska Library Commission has made funding available for grants for 2021: Youth Grants for Excellence, Internship, and Continuing Education & Training. Join Christa Porter, Sally Snyder, and Holli Duggan, from the Nebraska Library Commission’s Library Development Team, as they provide an overview of the grants, including eligibility requirements, the application process and grant review, timelines and deadlines. They will also share some tips on writing effective grants.

Upcoming NCompass Live shows:

  • Sept. 30 – Pretty Sweet Tech – Revamping Your WordPress Website
  • Oct. 21 – Migrating to an Open-Source ILS in an Academic Library: How to Celebrate Successes and Bounce Back from Problems
  • Tues. Nov. 10 – Creating an Open Educational Resource: Grenzenlos Deutsch, German Language Online Curriculum

For more information, to register for NCompass Live, or to listen to recordings of past events, go to the NCompass Live webpage.

NCompass Live is broadcast live every Wednesday from 10am – 11am Central Time. Convert to your time zone on the Official U.S. Time website. The show is presented online using the GoToWebinar online meeting service. Before you attend a session, please see the NLC Online Sessions webpage for detailed information about GoToWebinar, including system requirements, firewall permissions, and equipment requirements for computer speakers and microphones.

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Small-Town Libraries Encouraged to Apply for Kreutz Bennett Grants

Since 2012, more than $550,000 has been granted through a term endowment established by the late Shirley Kreutz Bennett, a lifelong educator originally from Harvard, Nebraska. Thanks to this generous support, dozens of libraries have launched projects to repair, renovate, or replace existing facilities, create programs that enhance library services, and importantly, prepare libraries, boards and directors to become accredited, which opens the door to increased state funding.

The Kreutz Bennett Donor-Advised Fund is currently accepting grant applications. Grants will be made to libraries located in communities with a population under 3,000. The deadline to submit the initial short application form is October 1, 2020.

Following Ms. Kreutz Bennett’s wishes, a Fund Advisory Committee composed of her nieces and nephews recommends grants each year. All grants require a one-to-one match in local funding and evidence that the project has broad community support.

There are three different areas of support available:

Planning for Accreditation Grants

The fund advisory committee encourages all eligible, unaccredited libraries to view the recently updated grant guidelines. A number of additional activities and expenses are now eligible for funding through a “Planning for Accreditation Grant.”

Enhancement Grants

Accredited libraries may apply for program support leading to the creation or improvement of library services and/or outreach. In-kind services or products may fulfill 50 percent of the local match requirement in this area.

Facilities Grants

Accredited libraries may request funding for new facilities or the renovation, restoration or rehabilitation of current libraries. Guidelines for this type of grant have been relaxed to allow libraries to apply for grants in multiple years for a total not to exceed $20,000.

Libraries that previously received facility grants less than $20,000 are allowed to apply for additional funding in this grant area.

There are approximately 100 eligible communities in Nebraska with non-accredited libraries. Libraries working toward accreditation may apply for grants over the course of multiple grant cycles. For instance, Walthill Public Library received two grants in two separate years to help with salary support for the director to spend additional hours working on the accreditation requirements. Once accredited, the library was eligible for larger grants from a variety of sources, including the state of Nebraska.

Grant applications are simple to complete. A short-form proposal is due October 1, 2020, and a full proposal is due in January 2021. Grant seekers may review and download the guidelines and application procedures on the Kreutz Bennett Donor-Advised Fund website.

For more information, contact Kristine Gale, Nebraska Community Foundation Community Impact Coordinator, 402.822.0466 or kgale@nebcommfound.org.

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2021 Internship Grants Now Available

Applications for Nebraska Library Commission Internship Grants for 2021 are now available!

Accredited Nebraska public libraries are invited to apply for up to $1,000 to fund a high school or college intern in 2021. Applicants may partner with other types of libraries to provide a variety of work settings – partnerships with other public, school, academic, or special libraries are encouraged. The deadline to submit an application is November 10, 2020.

This internship program works to introduce high school and college students to the varied and exciting work of Nebraska libraries. The internships are intended to function as a recruitment tool, helping the student to view the library as a viable career opportunity while providing the public library with the finances (up to $1,000 per library or branch) to provide stipends to the student interns. In the past student interns have helped the libraries expand programs, complete projects, improve websites, and expand social media use, while bringing fresh ideas into the library.

To learn more, sign up for the September 23 NCompass Live webinar, NLC Grants for 2021.

If you have any questions please contact Christa Porter, 800-307-2665, 402-471-3107.

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ALA’s Libraries Ready to Code Opens Call for Applications: Virtual Learning and Enhancement Grants

The American Library Association (ALA) has opened applications for Virtual Learning and Enhancement Grants of $1,000 available for 90 school, tribal, public, and academic libraries.

In response to increased demand for technical skills to lead and participate in virtual education during the COVID-19 health emergency, the Virtual Learning and Enhancement Grants focus on digital skill development of library staff and patrons.

Applications are due Thursday, September 17, 2020.

For the full details see the press release and submit your application on the grant webpage.

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Youth Grants for Excellence now available

Applications for the Youth Grants for Excellence are now available for accredited public libraries and state-run institutional libraries in Nebraska. The program is designed to encourage innovative projects for children and teens via creative thinking, risk-taking, expanding current programs, and new approaches to address problems and needs of children and young adults in your community. Grant applications are due October 7, 2020. Applications must be received by the Nebraska Library Commission submitted electronically by 11:59 p.m. CT. You will be notified by November 13, 2020 if you are awarded a grant.  Find the application form here, near the bottom of the page.

Join us on September 23, 2020 for the NCompass Live program that will address recommendations for your application for this and other grants from the Library Commission.

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Reminder: Submit your CE grant applications!

Just a few days left to apply for a Continuing Education (CE) grant to attend the ARSL 2020 virtual conference!

ARSL logo: airplane in front of SOAR with libraries, Sharing Our Amazing Resources

You can now see the detailed program schedule, as well as the session descriptions on the conference website. Keynote speakers include William Ottens, Cassandra Campbell, and Nancy Pearl. Sessions will also be recorded and available to registrants after the conference, so you won’t have to worry about missing anything!

Nebraska public librarians, library board members, and library students have a terrific opportunity with this virtual professional conference. Each grant recipient will be reimbursed for the costs of attendance, including conference registration and mileage (if traveling to a host library). Librarians, board members, and students may apply for an individual grant. Since ARSL is offering a group registration rate this year, library directors may apply for a group grant.

More details about the grant and the application forms are all available on the Continuing Education and Training Grants 2020 page.

If you have any questions at all, please contact Holli Duggan, CE Coordinator.

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Nebraska Library Commission Awards CARES Act Grants to Advance Digital Equity

NLC Logo

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
August 11, 2020

FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Christa Porter
402-471-3107
800-307-2665

Nebraska Library Commission Awards CARES Act Grants to Advance Digital Equity

Today the Nebraska Library Commission announced the recipients of $175,105 in COVID-19 response grants to 64 libraries across the state and the Central Plains Library System. Provided by the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the grants will be used by local libraries to address digital inclusion and related technical support in the context of workforce development and broadband availability, including: 

  • COVID-19 PPE Response Supplies – Disinfectant sprays and wipes; masks; gloves; sneeze guards for desks and counters; hand sanitizer stations; touchless soap/paper towel dispensers; keyboard covers.
  • Virtual Summer Reading Programs – statewide, year-long subscription to Reader Zone; virtual programming; craft bag supplies.
  • Wireless hotspots, laptops, and tablets to lend to patrons
  • Wi-Fi extenders to expand broadband access beyond the library facility
  • Digital Content: Fee to join the Nebraska OverDrive Group; additional purchases of other ebooks and audiobooks.

“Nebraska libraries have been resourceful and responsive during the COVID-19 pandemic. Acting within public health safety guidance and restrictions, libraries have sought to extend services outside of library walls.” said Nebraska Library Commission Director Rod Wagner. “Library grant funding provided through the CARES Act support libraries in acquiring needed supplies, paying for technology upgrades, purchasing digital content, and more.”

Grant recipients include:

Central Plains Library System
Albion Public Library
Arapahoe Public Library
Arcadia Township Library
Axtell Public Library
Bayard Public Library
Beaver City Public Library
Bellevue Public Library
Bennington Public Library
Broken Bow Public Library
Butler Memorial Library
Central City Public Library
Chadron Public Library
Columbus Public Library
Crawford Public Library
Dakota City Public Library
David City, Hruska Memorial Public Library
Dodge, John Rogers Memorial Library
Elmwood Public Library
Fairmont Public Library
Falls City Library & Arts Center
Franklin Public Library
Fremont, Keene Memorial Library
Friend, Gilbert Public Library
Gering Public Library
Grand Island Public Library
Grant, Hastings Memorial Library
Harrison, Sioux County Public Library
Hartington Public Library
Hemingford Public Library
Kimball Public Library
La Vista Public Library
Leigh Public Library
Louisville Public Library
Lyons Public Library
Madison Public Library
Neligh Public Library
Norfolk Public Library
North Bend Public Library
Oakland Public Library
Omaha Public Library
Ord Township Library
Oshkosh Public Library
Pender, House Memorial Library
Lied Pierce Public Library
Plymouth Public Library
Ponca Carnegie Library
Ralston, Baright Public Library
Lied Randolph Public Library
Ravenna Public Library
Sargent Township Library
Schuyler Public Library
Lied Scottsbluff Public Library
Shelby Community Library
Sutton Memorial Library
Taylor Public Library
Valentine Public Library
Verdigre Public Library
Walthill Public Library
Waterloo, Agnes Robinson Waterloo Public Library
Wausa, Lied Lincoln Township Library
Wayne Public Library
Western, Struckman-Baatz Public Library
Lied Winside Public Library
Wood River, Maltman Memorial Library

The Nebraska Library Commission received the funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to support the role of museums and libraries in responding to the coronavirus pandemic. In March, Congress provided the federal agency a total of $50 million in the CARES Act to distribute to states and territories.

IMLS Director Crosby Kemper III said, “COVID-19 has not only created a public health emergency, but it has also created a deep need for trusted community information, education, and connection that our libraries and museums are designed to provide. Access to and use of all kinds of health, job, government, educational, and community resources are necessary to weathering the current situation, beginning efforts to reopen, and sustaining our institutions.”

As the state library agency, the Nebraska Library Commission is an advocate for the library and information needs of all Nebraskans. The mission of the Library Commission is statewide promotion, development, and coordination of library and information services, “bringing together people and information.”

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The most up-to-date news releases from the Nebraska Library Commission are always available on the Library Commission Website, http://nlc.nebraska.gov/publications/newsreleases.

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Apply for a Continuing Education Grant!

There’s still plenty of time to apply for a Continuing Education (CE) grant to attend the ARSL 2020 virtual conference!

ARSL logo: airplane in front of SOAR with libraries, Sharing Our Amazing Resources

You can now see the detailed program schedule, as well as the session descriptions on the conference website. Keynote speakers include William Ottens, Cassandra Campbell, and Nancy Pearl. Sessions will also be recorded and available to registrants after the conference, so you won’t have to worry about missing anything!

Nebraska public librarians, library board members, and library students have a terrific opportunity with this virtual professional conference. Each grant recipient will be reimbursed for the costs of attendance, including conference registration and mileage (if traveling to a host library). Librarians, board members, and students may apply for an individual grant. Since ARSL is offering a group registration rate, library directors may apply for a group grant.

More details and the application forms are all available now on the Continuing Education and Training Grants 2020 page.

If you have any questions at all, please contact Holli Duggan, CE Coordinator.

Important Dates:

  • Aug. 31: CE Grant Application Due Date
  • Sept. 4: Recipients Announced
  • Sept. 28 – Oct. 2: ARSL Conference
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NCompass Live: The Kreutz Bennett Donor-Advised Fund: Grants to Nebraska’s Small-Town Public Libraries

Is your library in a community with a population under 3,000? ‘The Kreutz Bennett Donor-Advised Fund: Grants to Nebraska’s Small-Town Public Libraries’ is for you! Join us to learn how to apply for this funding opportunity on next week’s FREE NCompass Live webinar, on Wednesday, August 5 at 10:00am CT.

Since 2012, the Kreutz Bennett Donor-Advised Fund has granted over $570,000 to Nebraska’s small-town public libraries through a term endowment established by the late Shirley Kreutz Bennett, a lifelong educator originally from Harvard, Nebraska. Thanks to this generous support, dozens of libraries have launched projects to repair, renovate, or replace existing facilities, create programs that enhance library services, and importantly, prepare libraries, boards and directors to become accredited, which opens the door to increased state funding.

A Fund Advisory Committee composed of Ms. Kreutz Bennett’s nieces and nephews recommends matching grants each year to libraries serving communities with populations under 3,000. Join us to learn how your library can apply for this annual grant opportunity.

Presenters: Kristine Gale, Community Impact Coordinator, Nebraska Community Foundation; Christa Porter, Library Development Director, Nebraska Library Commission.

Upcoming NCompass Live shows:

  • Aug. 19 – Drive-Thru User Testing
  • Aug. 26 – Pretty Sweet Tech
  • Sept. 9 – Discount Shopping with the NLC

For more information, to register for NCompass Live, or to listen to recordings of past events, go to the NCompass Live webpage.

NCompass Live is broadcast live every Wednesday from 10am – 11am Central Time. Convert to your time zone on the Official U.S. Time website. The show is presented online using the GoToWebinar online meeting service. Before you attend a session, please see the NLC Online Sessions webpage for detailed information about GoToWebinar, including system requirements, firewall permissions, and equipment requirements for computer speakers and microphones.

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ARSL Conference and CE Grants

Registration for the 2020 ARSL virtual conference is opening today! 

Registration will open today at 4:00 p.m. (CST). The updated schedule and speakers can be viewed on the ARSL Conference website.

Even better news — the CE grants are reopening! 

Starting Monday, July 20th, applications for CE grants will be available to submit online until August 31st.

What will be covered by grant funds?

  • Registration for the ARSL 2020 virtual conference
  • Mileage if traveling to a host library

Who is eligible to apply?

  • Librarians and staff members employed in an accredited Nebraska public library 
  • Board members of an accredited Nebraska public library
  • Nebraska students currently enrolled in a Library Science degree program (or will be enrolled in the fall) – will require proof of enrollment

Can library directors apply for a group CE grant?

  • Yes! ARSL is offering group registration rates this year. If libraries wish to take advantage of these group rates, the library director may apply for a CE grant for multiple staff members. Groups are not required to watch the conference together, though you may set up watch parties (following all safety guidelines).

Note: If you’ve already been awarded a CE grant for the ARSL conference, you do not need to reapply. I’ll be reaching out to you all individually.

If you have any questions, please contact Holli Duggan, CE Coordinator.

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Enter Your Library to Win the 2020 Jerry Kline Community Impact Prize

Deadline: July 15, 2020 (Submissions close at 11:59 p.m. EDT.)

The Jerry Kline Community Impact Prize, developed in partnership between the Gerald M. Kline Family Foundation and Library Journal, was created in 2019 to recognize the public library as a vital community asset. When libraries, civic entities, organizations, and the people they serve become close partners, their communities thrive.

Prize: One winning library will receive $250,000 in unfettered grant monies from the Gerald M. Kline Family Foundation. The winning library will also be profiled in the November issue of Library Journal and online.

The winning library will be identified based on the degree of its impact on the community in the following key areas:

  • Engagement – a) How do the local government and other civic institutions partner with the library—and vice versa—to support the service area’s defined civic goals? b) How does the library use deep engagement and co-creation with community individuals and non-governmental organizations to drive library services?
  • Recognition – What does the community recognize are positive outcomes from the library, and how is that recognition given? How is that reflected in support?
  • Inclusion – How does the library go the extra mile to meet the needs of marginalized or underserved populations among its community and to promote social cohesion and connection across differences?
  • Leadership development – How does the library ensure its own organizational strength and dynamism?
  • Environmental sustainability – How does the library lead on sustainable thinking for the library itself and the community at large to ensure future resilience?  
  • Inventiveness – How are the library services original, both strategically and tactically?

Application Requirements

  • Nominations will be submitted via an online form.
  • Nominations should include the following:
    • Nominee data: Library name, primary contact and contact mailing address, phone number, email.
    • Library data: population in service area, physical area served, per capita budget, number of patrons served, number of FTE, number of volunteers, days and hours open per week, types of existing funding sources with their relative percentages within total funding.
    • Multiple-author submissions are permitted. For submissions with multiple authors, please include the names and affiliations of all of the group members.
    • An overview summary of no more than 1,000 words pertaining to the goals and criteria listed above.
    • Detailed answers to focused answers on each of the criteria driven questions above (via fields in the online submission form).
    • Three letters of support from community partners and/or civic leaders, with at least one from a civic official.
    • Optional: Supporting materials such as photographs/images of the library and surrounding community; press coverage, brief videos (not exceed three minutes), etc.

Read about the 2019 winner, Sacramento Public Library.

Eligibility: All U.S. Public Libraries are eligible for the prize, whether in a single building in a small town or a multi-branch system serving an entire region. Previous winners are asked to take a ten year hiatus from submitting again for consideration.

Application Deadline: The deadline for consideration for the 2020 Community Impact Prize is July 15, 2020. (Submissions close at 11:59 p.m. EDT.)

Please submit nominations via the form found here.

Questions? Please contact Meredith Schwartz, Editor-in-Chief, Library Journal at mschwartz@mediasourceinc.com

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2020 CARES Act Grants Available from the Nebraska Library Commission

To assist Nebraska public libraries in responding to the coronavirus pandemic, the Nebraska Library Commission has been allocated $165,000 in federal funds to provide grants to libraries through a competitive grant process. These funds are administered by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, from the CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, Public Law 116-136). The funding is available to help libraries prepare to reopen to the public and adapt services to reduce the impact of COVID-19.

Online applications will be accepted through 11:59 PM (CT) on June 30, 2020 at http://nlc.nebraska.gov/grants/caresact/

All legally established Nebraska public libraries (both accredited and non-accredited) are eligible to apply. Other organizations can partner with an eligible entity for purposes of submitting a grant application for a collaborative project. Partnerships with museums are encouraged. A local match is not required.

The spending principles for these funds are driven by the language in the CARES Act:

  • To prevent, prepare for, and respond to COVID-19; and
  • To expand digital network access, purchase internet accessible devices, and provide for technical support services.

To achieve these purposes, the funding is to be used as follows:

Primarily to address digital inclusion and related technical support, using the following types of data to inform targeted efforts:

  • Poverty/Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP);
  • Unemployment; and
  • Broadband availability.

Here are some examples of projects that would fit this grant. This list is not exhaustive, but rather intended as a general guide or resource for allowable projects:

Connectivity: Laptops, Chromebooks, tablet computers, or other devices for use inside or outside of the library; hotspots, devices with data plans; Wi-Fi extenders and repeaters; and other equipment upgrades.

Digital content: eBooks; Audiobooks; and databases.

Unemployment related: Online unemployment resources; assistance with job searches; training librarians to assist in unemployment; and partnerships with unemployment related organizations.

COVID-19 response supplies: Disinfectant sprays and wipes; masks; gloves; sneeze guards for desks and counters; and keyboard covers.

Virtual programming: Summer reading and other programs to reach at-risk, educational, or other targeted populations (partnering with museums and tribes, if possible).

**NOTE: Construction projects are not allowable. This includes broadband infrastructure projects that require construction equipment, trenching, construction related trades, and “last mile” projects.

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New State Funding Source for Fiber Construction for Nebraska Public Libraries

The Nebraska Public Service Commission has issued an Order establishing the E-Rate Special

Construction State Matching Grant Program (NUSF-117) as a way to help facilitate Federal Communication Commission (FCC) with the build-out of new fiber to Nebraska libraries and schools. This new grant program is designed to maximize federal support through the FCC E-rate Special Construction Program.  Nebraska public libraries are able to apply for up to 10% of the total fiber build-out construction cost to the library with these grant funds.  The approved state funds provide a match for the federal E-rate funds (also up to 10%) to be paid toward the fiber build-out construction cost.

The E-rate Special Construction State Matching Grant Program  is a four year program with one million dollars available to library applicants that have been approved by the both the state and federal programs.

“I commend the Nebraska Public Service Commission for creating the E-Rate Special Construction State Matching Grant Program. The matching funds will be a significant incentive to help Nebraska libraries install fiber connections for high-speed internet service. Libraries that capitalize on fiber build-outs using this state and federal funding opportunity will be able to fulfill their mission of serving the public’s demand for technology resources,” said Rod Wagner, Director Nebraska Library Commission.

Currently about 40 percent of the 247 Nebraska public libraries report internet speeds of less than 12 Mbps.

 Often Nebraska access to free Wi-fi in rural areas is located at the local public library. The library may also be the only location for many miles where a traveler or local citizen can assess a printer/fax machine or computer free. School-age children in rural communities use the free Wi-fi to use their Chrome Books and complete their homework assignments. Local citizens who do not have access to a computer a home can complete online government forms and address medical concerns with providers that offer telehealth services at their local library. The local library has a critical role in providing access to the internet in rural communities. The Nebraska Rural Broadband Task Force included in its recommendations, Legislative Bill LB-992, that Nebraska Universal Services Fund be used to provide the matching funding source for fiber build-outs to assist libraries to upgrade rural libraries’ access to fiber. 

 The Nebraska Library Commission will host a webinar on June 18 to provide local library directors and opportunity to learn more about the grant program.

Nebraska Public Service Commission news release, PSC Initiates Grant Program to Help Bring Broadband to Libraries & Schools .

For more information, contact Holly Woldt, 402-471-4871

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Grant Opportunity: The STAR Net STEAM Equity Project

STAR Net STEAM Equity Project: Enhancing Learning Opportunities in Libraries of Rural Communities

Applications Open Now; submit your Notice of Intent by July 20 at http://www.ala.org/tools/programming/steamequity

Eligibility: Public libraries serving rural and Latino communities

The STAR Net STEAM Equity Project will help public library workers in rural communities offer outstanding, culturally responsive STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) programming and exhibitions for their patrons, especially often-underreached Latino populations.

Twelve creative librarians/library workers will be chosen to lead their libraries’ participation in a project at the intersection of transforming library services, gender equity and cultural inclusion (especially with Latino families), STEAM learning and positive youth development.

Those interested in applying on behalf of their library are invited to complete a brief Notice of Intent (NOI) about your community demographics and needs. Eligible libraries that submit a successful NOI will be invited to submit a full proposal by the October 15, 2020 deadline.

Selected libraries will receive support at the national level from the project team as well as local partnerships, and $15,000 to participate in professional development activities, support community partnerships and purchase materials as they customize STEAM learning experiences for their communities. In partnership with library staff and their community collaborators, the project will engage families to empower tweens in STEAM culture and learning.

Participating library workers will learn STEAM programming and outreach strategies through virtual and in-person workshops. Starting in 2021, they will host three traveling STEAM exhibitions; facilitate three STEAM programs annually; create and lend three STEAM outreach kits; and develop a STEAM exploration space in their library.

The STAR Net STEAM Equity Project is funded the National Science Foundation (NSF) and offered by the Space Science Institute’s National Center for Interactive Learning (NCIL/SSI), the American Library Association (ALA), Twin Cities PBS (TPT), Institute for Learning Innovation (ILI) and Education Development Center (EDC).

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Small-Town Libraries Get Help for High-Tech Makerspaces with Kreutz Bennett Grants

Kreutz Bennett Donor-Advised Fund focuses on empowering libraries

Today’s libraries provide important services that go far beyond books. They are used for community gathering places, internet access, remote conferencing, public meetings, after-school programs, and increasingly, for wildly popular makerspaces for children and adults. Recently, the Kreutz-Bennett Donor-Advised Fund, an affiliated fund of Nebraska Community Foundation, helped six small-town Nebraska libraries provide access to STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, math) activities by providing grants totaling $46,321. All grants required a one-to-one match in local funding.

Funds will be used to purchase STEAM-related equipment, software, supplies and improve facilities in the following libraries:

Bridgeport Public Library

This library requested funding to equip its permanent makerspace, which is a broad term that includes space and equipment that encourages different kinds of creativity. It can include many things ranging from embroidery machines to 3D printers and laser cutters. The Committee approved a grant of $8,000.

Central City Public Library

A grant of $10,000 will match local funding to purchase equipment for the library’s makerspace. A Community Needs Survey has indicated public support for this project, and a grant of $10,000 will help meet this goal.

Clay Center Public Library

This request involved a technology update. The library will purchase new computers to allow it to present coding classes and sponsor a coding club. Many computers in Nebraska libraries, originally acquired through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, are now 10 or more years old. The Committee approved a grant of $7,191.

Kimball Public Library

This library is receiving a grant of $10,030 to create a new makerspace. The library hosted a Nebraska Library Commission mobile Innovation Studio this past year and is now planning to create its own space for encouraging creativity.

Lied Pierce Public Library

A grant of $1,100 will support the purchase of various STEAM supplies and equipment. This is an example of continuing support for libraries that demonstrate a record of successful programs.

Ravenna Public Library

This newly constructed facility will install equipment in a new makerspace, thanks to a matching $10,000 grant for enhanced programming.

An additional $86,750 in grants was awarded to the following libraries for program enhancement, facilities improvement, or work leading to accreditation:

Axtell Public Library

This library was offered a $20,000 grant in 2019 on the condition that the community could raise the matching funds within one year. Those funds have been secured and the contingent grant has been released. Funding will be used to update library’s restrooms to make them ADA accessible and improve the outdated and nonfunctioning lighting throughout the library.

Garfield County Library in Burwell

A grant of $3,750 will be matched by local funds and significant expenditures from the city and county to improve patron safety by installing additional parking, exterior lighting, and relocating bike racks away from traffic areas.

Geneva Public Library

The library requested assistance for renovating the exterior brick and mortar on the entrance of this historic building. The Committee noted that Shirley Kreutz Bennett was in favor of restoring historic libraries and provided a matching grant of $20,000.

Genoa Public Library

Two grants will provide funding for interior renovations and programming. A $10,000 grant will help replace 30-year-old carpeting and outdated shelving. Another $1,000 will be used to expand the children’s area with an assortment of educational games and supplies.

Hruska Memorial Public Library in David City

This library will receive up to $6,000 to replace very old equipment in its public meeting room including a projector, screen and speakers. More than 3,000 persons attended various presentations last year. The request is being matched by a local grant from Nebraska Community Foundation’s affiliated fund, the Butler County Area Foundation Fund, with additional funding from the Nebraska Library Commission.

Logan County Library in Stapleton

This non-accredited library will receive a matching grant of $500 to support the library director’s time and travel expenses for training in pursuit of accreditation, and to purchase a subscription that provides the library with e-books and audio books.

Rising City Public Library

This library will receive $2,500 to help with attaining accreditation. Funding will provide partial support for salary, a subscription for e-books and audio books, and a computer.

Rock County Public Library in Bassett

This library will use its $20,000 matching grant to expand its facility by renovating an attached garage, that formerly housed a bookmobile. The space will be used to create a meeting room, a classroom area, and an after-school program.

Shelby Public Library

This library is receiving $3,000 in matching funds to launch a community engagement program over three years that encourages and builds community cohesion. Each month the library will be the location for a diverse set of events ranging from cultural, educational and entertainment presentations.

Since 2012, more than $550,000 has been granted through a term endowment established by the late Shirley Kreutz Bennett, a lifelong educator originally from Harvard, Nebraska. Thanks to this generous support, dozens of libraries have launched projects to repair, renovate, or replace existing facilities, create programs that enhance library services, and importantly, prepare libraries, boards and directors to become accredited, which opens the door to increased state funding.

The Kreutz Bennett Donor-Advised Fund encourages all libraries serving communities with populations under 3,000 to review the grant guidelines and carefully consider how new improvements might better serve families.

Following Ms. Kreutz Bennett’s wishes, a Fund Advisory Committee composed of her nieces and nephews recommends grants each year. All grants require a one-to-one match in local funding and evidence that the project has broad community support. Grant seekers should review the guidelines and application procedures. The first short applications are due October 1, 2020. If invited, full applications will be due in January 2021. For more information, contact Kristine Gale, NCF community impact coordinator, 402.822.0466 or kgale@nebcommfound.org.

About Nebraska Community Foundation

Nebraska Community Foundation unleashes abundant assets, inspires charitable giving and connects ambitious people to build stronger communities and a Greater Nebraska.

Headquartered in Lincoln, the Foundation serves communities, donors and organizations by providing financial management, strategic development, education and training to a statewide network of 1,500 volunteers serving 260 communities.

In the last five years, 44,476 contributions have been made to Nebraska Community Foundation and its affiliated funds. Since 1994, Nebraska Community Foundation has reinvested $355 million in Nebraska’s people and places. For information, visit NebraskaHometown.org.

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