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Institute for Museum & Library Services: Activating Community Opportunities Using Museums/Libraries as Assets – A National Leadership Grants Special Initiative

Deadline: May 14, 2018

National Leadership Grants for Libraries (NLG) support projects that address challenges and opportunities facing the library, archive, and museum (LAM) fields and that have the potential to advance theory and practice. Activating Community Opportunities Using Museums/Libraries as Assets is a special NLG initiative with the goal of examining how LAMs can work with their communities to leverage their unique abilities to affect positive community change. Successful projects will demonstrate how LAMs can provide trusted spaces for, and learn from, ongoing community dialog to facilitate the discovery of mutual understanding and shared goals among individuals.

Proposed projects should align with at least one of the following five areas of interest:

1. Adaptable models for joint efforts to engage and serve a local community: The focus is to support proposals for community-based projects that develop and explore models for co-creating, deepening, and sustaining joint efforts to engage and serve a local community. The intent is for LAMs to identify, at a local level, what factors, resources, partnerships, and practices can best combine to create an ideal environment for engaging and serving their communities. This effort should include combinations of cultural, public, nonprofit, educational institutions, foundations, local governments, or private organizations focused on community reinvestment and improvement. The desired outcome is to further the abilities of LAM institutions to:

  • Proactively assess the best role for themselves within the context of their local community’s assets (e.g., resources, skills, experiences) for creating meaningful positive community change
  • Define and implement plans and activities developed together with their communities that can best achieve sustained community improvement
  • Identify how community development activities will fit within their strategic goals and yearly activities to support mission achievement

2. Broadening reach into new communities with existing and potential partners: The focus is on supporting projects that engage not just current audiences but also those individuals, stakeholders, and partner organizations that reflect an entire community, especially those who are underserved. This is not targeting proposals that focus on large-scale generation of new data, collections curation activities, implementation, further scaling of current community-based programs offered by LAMs, or technology solutions for gathering existing community data, digitizing, or providing access to collections information. However, this focus does seek projects that could enhance the quality of library and museum services nationwide by including some of these activities as they are demonstrated on a local community level. Proposed projects should identify existing momentum for local community improvement activities by describing key groups, organizations, or institutions that are already championing and supporting change, as well as identifying other groups or less organized entities that hold key assets that could be included in the community improvement efforts.

3. Community buy-in and asset mapping: Applicants should demonstrate how they will engage a broad range of community members in conversations about where they live; encourage and empower individuals to speak, leaders to listen, and coalitions to form; and facilitate calculated risk-taking that supports efforts to create better places to live. They must present a strong case for buy-in from the community and key stakeholders to the proposed project plan and goals. Applicants should also present a methodology for asset mapping with their community and identify those activities, community stakeholders, and partners which might yield the greatest impact.

4. Sharing findings and project evaluation: Applicants should build into their project plans time for working with a third-party evaluator anticipated to be provided by IMLS through periodic teleconferences, email, and in-person gatherings.

5. Opportunities to link with economic development efforts: Applicants may have the opportunity to be considered for Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) technical assistance through EPA’s Building Blocks: Sustainable Strategies for Small Cities and Rural Areas and Supporting Equitable Development (Building Blocks) program (https://www.epa.gov/smartgrowth/building-blocks-sustainable-communities). Through the Building Blocks program, EPA would potentially provide technical assistance to selected communities and their library/museum partners to identify local barriers to smart growth. In addition, work through the program would explore how libraries, museums, and other community institutions can play a central role in anchoring and catalyzing economic development efforts, promoting equitable access, and revitalizing downtowns and existing neighborhoods.

Amount: A total of $2,000,000 is available to make up to 15 awards ranging from $25,000-$150,000 and averaging $136,000. A cost share of 1:1 is required.

Eligibility: A unit of state or local government or a private nonprofit organization that has tax-exempt status under the Internal Revenue Code that is located in one of the 50 States of the United States of America, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, or the Republic of Palau; and qualify that as one of the following:

A) A library entity: To be eligible under this category, applicants must meet all of the following criteria:

1) A library or a parent organization, such as a school district, a municipality, a state agency, or an academic institution, that is responsible for the administration of a library; and

2) The applicant must qualify as one of the following:

  • A library or a parent organization, such as a school district, a municipality, a state agency, or an academic institution, that is responsible for the administration of a library. Eligible libraries include public libraries, public elementary and secondary school libraries, college (including community college) and university libraries, research libraries and archives that are not an integral part of an institution of higher education and that make publicly available library services and materials that are suitable for scholarly research and not otherwise available. Research libraries must be under the supervision of at least one permanent professional staff librarian and be either generally recognized as possessing unique, scholarly research materials and services that are made available to the public.
  • A private library or other special library, but only if the state in which it is located determines that the library should be considered a library for purposes of Library Services and Technology.
  • An academic or administrative unit, such as a graduate school of library and information science that is part of an institution of higher education through which it would make application.
  • A digital library, if it makes library materials publicly available and provides library services, including selection, organization, description, reference, and preservation, under the supervision of at least one permanent professional staff librarian.
  • A library agency that is an official agency of a state or other unit of government and is charged by the law governing it with the extension and development of public library services within its jurisdiction.
  • A library consortium that is a local, statewide, regional, interstate, or international cooperative association of library entities that provides for the systematic coordination of the resources of eligible libraries and information centers that work to improve the services delivered to the clientele of these libraries.
  • A library association that exists on a permanent basis; serves libraries or library professionals on a national, regional, state, or local level; and engages in activities designed to advance the well-being of libraries and the library profession.

B) Museum entity: The applicant must qualify as one of the following: A museum that, using a professional staff, is organized on a permanent basis for essentially educational or aesthetic purposes; owns or uses tangible objects, either animate or inanimate; cares for these objects; and exhibits these objects to the general public on a regular basis through facilities that it owns or operates. If they otherwise meet these requirements, museums include, but are not limited to, aquariums, arboretums, art museums, botanical gardens, children’s/youth museums, general museums (those having two or more significant disciplines), historic houses/sites, history museums, natural history/anthropology museums, nature centers, planetariums, science/technology centers, specialized museums (limited to a single distinct subject), and zoological parks.

C) Community entity: The applicant must have: 1) expertise and experience in library, archive, or museum projects, and ensure that appropriate professionals in these areas will administer and carry out your project; and 2) expertise and experience in one or more of the following areas: federal, state, or private grants related to community development (including enhanced services, mechanisms for equitable access, or social impact investing).

D) Institutes of Higher Education.

E) Others: Native American tribal organizations may apply if they otherwise meet the above eligibility requirements.

Link: https://www.grants.gov/web/grants/view-opportunity.html?oppId=301697

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