Planning Ahead: 3 Upcoming Grants from ALA

Whether your library remains closed due to COVID-19 or you are beginning the careful process of re-opening to the public, we can be sure of one thing: normalcy will return, eventually.

ALA’s Public Programs Office is working hard (from home!) to prepare a series of grant opportunities for summer and fall 2020 — so when libraries do open their doors, they can offer the programming their communities need.

Here’s what we have in store.

Photo of a person writing in a planner.
The ALA Public Programs Office announces three grant offerings coming in summer and fall 2020.

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

Applications Open: Now; submit your Notice of Intent by July 20. Learn more.
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).

2. Resilient Communities: Libraries Respond to Climate Change

Applications Open: July 1 — August 28, 2020. Learn more.
Eligibility: Public and academic libraries.

Resilient Communities: Libraries Respond to Climate Change

Resilient Communities: Libraries Respond to Climate Change will help libraries engage their communities in programs and conversations that address the climate crisis. The pilot program project will fund film screenings, community dialogues and related events based on local interest in 25 public and academic libraries in 2020-2021, and it will fund the creation of a suite of free programming resources about the climate crisis that will be available to all libraries. 

Selected libraries will receive a $1,000 programming grant to support climate-related programs and activities, a small collection of documentaries/docudramas on DVD with public performance rights, professional development and technical support, and a Resilient Communities programming guide developed by ALA and a panel of librarian advisors. Participating libraries will also receive support from  Communities Responding to Extreme Weather (CREW) to become a Climate Resilience Hub.

The Resilient Communities: Libraries Respond to Climate Change pilot program has been made possible by Andrew and Carol Phelps. Project advising is provided by representatives of ALA’s Sustainability Round Table.

3. Connect & Grow: Hotspots & Financial Literacy Tools for Rural Libraries

Applications Open: TBD, expected summer or fall 2020. To receive updates about Connect & Grow, sign up for the Programming Librarian newsletter
Eligibility: Public libraries serving rural communities.

In partnership with Capital One Bank, Connect & Grow: Hotspots & Financial Literacy Tools for Rural Libraries will provide 20 rural public libraries with resources to support financial literacy and internet access for two years.

Selected libraries will receive five Verizon Wi-Fi hotspots with two-year contracts and service for lending to patrons, a $2,000 stipend to support financial literacy programming, a curated book list of financial literacy titles featured in ALA’s Financial Literacy LibGuide, a copy of ALA Publishing’s “Rainy Day Ready: Programs and Tools for Developing Financial Literacy,” and professional development and technical support.