Grant Funding Sources

Following is a selected list of organizations and institutions that have funded library programs for adults or worked as partners with libraries for programs. Have you approached similar groups in your community for funding or in-kind support?

Grants can get programming off the ground.
Get your programming off the ground by reaching out to organizations for grant opportunities.

…Foundations, library friends groups, chambers of commerce, banks, church groups, retirement centers, book stores, service and civic groups, radio and TV stations, cable companies, newspapers, artists and writers clubs or centers, museums, businesses, park districts, unions, colleges and universities, high schools, ethnic or special interest clubs, women’s groups, historical societies, restaurants and cafes, health clubs, supermarkets, hotels…

State Humanities and Arts Councils

Most state humanities councils award program grants and mini-grants to libraries planning free admission public programs that involve a humanities scholar. State arts councils also award grants to nonprofit organizations for various types of arts-related programs. Application requirements and deadlines vary from state to state.

For a list of state humanities councils and contact information, visit the Federation of State Humanities Councils website. For arts councils, visit the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies (NASAA).

National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH)

Program officers in the Division of Public Programs will advise librarians with ideas for humanities projects and whether projects may be eligible for NEH support.

National Endowment for the Arts (NEA)

The NEA awards grants from $5,000 to $200,000 to nonprofit organizations for programs in arts and literature; welcomes small projects involving one or more specific events or activities that can make a difference in their community. Applicants must have a minimum of four years of programming experience.

Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS)

The IMLS is a federal office that awards grants to libraries to enhance the quality of library services nationwide. Of particular interest are National Leadership Grants ($15,000–$500,000) for model programs of cooperation between libraries and museums to address community needs, expand audiences, and use new technologies; model programs must be replicable and adaptable to other institutions, thus having a national impact. Libraries may apply individually or in a partnership.

ALA Awards, Grants and Scholarships

Each year, the American Library Association and its member units seek to honor, through its Awards Program, those who have rendered distinguished service to libraries and librarianship.

ALA Washington Office Selected Sources for Grants

The ALA Washington Office has a Web page that lists and summarizes sources for grant funding.

Library Grants Blog

Library Grants Blog is written by librarians Pam MacKellar and Stephanie Gerding. The blog lists and summarizes current library grants and award opportunities from a wide variety of funding sources.

Library Foundations

Don’t forget about the role of library foundations in fundraising. Here are a few online resources on the topic:

•   “Establishing a Library Foundation: Planning, Persistence, Progress,” Jeanne Thorsen

•   Monthly newsletters from the Wyoming Library Association with helpful and timely tips and technical info

•   Forming and Funding Public Library Foundations, Public Library Association


A collection on nonprofit organizations, fundraising and philanthropy housed at the Redmond Regional Library of the King County (Wash.) Library System