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Institute of Museum and Library Services: National Leadership Grants for Libraries

Deadline: February 2, 2016

National Leadership Grants for Libraries (NLG) support projects that address challenges faced by the library and archive fields and that have the potential to advance practice in those fields. Successful proposals will generate results such as new tools, research findings, models, services, practices, or alliances that can be widely used, adapted, scaled, or replicated to extend the benefits of federal investment. The funding categories through which applicants may apply are Project Grant, Research Grant, Planning Grant, or National Forum Grant.

Applications that address one of the two following agency priorities are encouraged:

  1. National digital platform
  2. Learning in libraries

Applications that explore the following issues will also be accepted:

  1. What will move library and archival services in the United States forward?
  2. What will help libraries and archives make decisions about their own investments?
  3. What knowledge, capacity, functions, or infrastructure can libraries and archives share?

The Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS) is interested in work that will support the national digital platform: the combination of software applications, social and technical infrastructure, and staff expertise used by libraries, museums, and archives to provide online content and services to all users in the United States. IMLS wants to bridge gaps between disparate pieces of the existing digital library infrastructure, for increased efficiencies, cost-savings, access, and services. The program cannot support the digitization of content, or pre-digitization activities like inventorying collections. Issues to consider may include:

  • Increasing access to shared digital services for libraries and archives through existing platforms
  • Expanding the range, types, and diversity of existing digital content available through shared infrastructure
  • Improving the discoverability and functionality of digital content
  • Improving the interoperability, usability, and community involvement of widely used open source digital library software applications
  • Tackling problems facing libraries in providing digital access to users today at scale (digital stewardship, data curation, applications of linked data, and crowdsourcing)
  • Addressing access to in-copyright and licensed content, including investigation of economic models

Additionally, the IMLS is interested in work that builds institutional capacity, develops STEM learning, engages community and encourages partnerships to support all types of learning and inquiry, including participatory inquiry-based, and/or other forms of learning, in libraries. Competitive proposals in this category should focus on supporting and enhancing libraries’ ability to make their own decisions and investments, rather than the development of learning spaces or programs in individual libraries and communities. Issues to consider may include:

  • Creating partnerships and communities of practice for practitioners across fields
  • Supporting a cultural shift away from passive service models to proactive, anticipatory and engaged user service models
  • Building STEM learning opportunities for at-risk youth
  • Designing, developing, testing, and sharing informal learning curricula
  • Building bridges to national learning standards or formal curricula
  • Developing replicable models for community engagement, mentorship, and partnerships
  • Defining strategies to increase libraries’ relationships and collaborations with education partners in other formal and/or informal settings
  • Increasing national awareness of library services and resources in STEM and informal learning collaborations
  • Using libraries to increase STEM, digital, financial, health, and other literacies, and improving methodologies for measuring the impact of these service models

Amount: A total of $12,000,000 will be awarded to 20 organizations. Project/Research Grants will range from $10,000 to $2,000,000; Planning Grants will range from $10,000 to $50,000; and National Forum Grants range up to $100,000. The grant period is up to three years for Project Grants, and up to one year for Planning and National Forum Grants.

Eligibility: A unit of state or local government or a private nonprofit organization that has tax-exempt status under the Internal Revenue Code and 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
  • 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

Link: https://www.imls.gov/nofo/national-leadership-grants-libraries-fy16-2-notice-funding-opportunity

Note: The February 2 deadline is for preliminary proposals. Invited proposals will be due June 1, 2016.

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