YOUTH GRANTS FOR EXCELLENCE
What is the Youth Grants for Excellence Program?
The Nebraska Library Commission has made funding available specifically for
innovative projects for children and young adults in public libraries. The
program is designed to encourage creative thinking, risk-taking, and new
approaches to address the problems and needs of children and young adults in
your community. Grant awards enable youth librarians to begin needed programs
and try projects which they have been unable to undertake. The grants also offer
an opportunity to expand youth service capabilities in new and/or different
directions. It is also expected that the funding will provide a foundation for
ongoing rather than one-time services, which can be continued with community
support or through a reallocation of library funds.
Who is eligible to apply?
Any children's librarian, young adult librarian, or adult librarian
(in an accredited public library or a state-run institutional library) in charge
of children's or young adult services and system administrators may apply.
Schools, service agencies, and/or organizations may be involved through
collaborative planning and programming with an eligible public library, thus receiving benefit from this
project. Please note that before applying for a Youth Grant for Excellence, if
the entity has unresolved issues with any previous Commission grant projects, it
will not be eligible to apply.
How much money may we apply for ?
Applicants are encouraged to apply for the amount required to implement their ideas successfully. The minimum amount that will be awarded per grant is $250. The grants require a 25% match
of the requested amount (see Matching Funds below for details). The $250 minimum grant amount plus the required 25% local match ($63) combine for $313 as the lowest total project amount for a Youth Grant for Excellence. Use the Project Budget Form at the end of the application form to estimate the amount you will need and to itemize specific expenses. You are advised to be as precise and detailed as possible.
(There are more requirements for the Matching Funds, see below.)
How do I figure how much, and what percentage
I need for my Local
All grants require a local match of 25% of the amount requested (grant amount).
Ten percent (10%) of the amount requested for the local match must be in cash. The remaining 15%
of the amount requested for the local match can be in-kind costs and/or
The minimum amount that will be awarded per grant is $250, which means the
minimum total project cost will be $313, with your library providing at least
$63 (cash and in-kind) for the 25% match required. For in-kind costs, if an applicant is going to use staffing resources as part of the local match, the staffing resources must be dedicated to the project. Other in-kind costs such as the printing of brochures for an event could also count toward the 15% local match. Please note: the cash match can also be contributed by the local library's friends group, foundation, a local donor, or any other source outside the library.
How much detail do I need to provide?
Please explain your project as if whoever is
reading your application knows nothing about your library and its services.
Give us details, details, details. A thick application is not
a guarantee you will be funded, but if we do not understand what you want to do,
or why, your application may not be funded. Show a draft of your
application to someone who is not a part of the grant process and see
what they think (one of your board members, your System Director, another
library director in your area, Library Commission staff members Richard Miller
or Holli Duggan).
What kind of projects will be eligible for the Youth Grants for Excellence?
You may apply for a grant in an area
that will benefit children and/or teens and which you see as a need in your community, for example
(but not limited to), projects for youth (preschool, elementary school age, or teen) that will:
- Encourage reading
- Early Childhood Reading Programs
- Concentrate on boys and reading
- Celebrate reading and books
- Encourage creativity
- Develop character
- Encourage and celebrate other materials or opportunities for youth at your library
- Encourage library use by children and/or teens for whom English is a
- Assist library personnel in their ability to meet the service needs of children and/or teens in their community.
What is required with the Youth Grants for Excellence?
- A brief statement of the need for the project: Why did you decide to do this project?
- Details about what you plan to do and how.
- Each grant project must have at least one program (an event designed for the project, attended by youth, and usually held in the library) for the youth of your community to attend. If you are planning more than one program it will enhance your application.
- Information about how you will determine the success of the project.
- Please also look through the Criteria for Grant Awards.
What are the criteria for the grant awards?
- Comply with all conditions and instructions included in the application information.
- The local match amount is at least 25% of the grant amount requested.
- The total project cost is appropriate for the scope of the grant. Base your estimates on real costs rather than discounted prices; once the sale is over, the item(s) will be back to the higher price.
- The library director and the library board chair approve the application with signatures.
- The project includes one or more programs (an event or events designed for the project, attended by youth, and usually held in the library) for the target audience.
- The project noted on the application is based on specific, identified needs of children or young adults in your community.
- Materials acquisitions are not requested unless they are critical to the success of the project, and must be part of one or more programs for the target audience as a part of the overall grant project.
- The project described represents a new effort or an entirely different approach to an existing need or program.
- The application is filled out completely and clearly. We now offer only the online application, but if
you prefer you are still welcome to write your application in Word, or another word processing program, and email it to Sally Snyder. If appropriate, support materials (e.g., catalog page or computer printout displaying item
intended for purchase, list of books and/or materials for purchase, letters from project partners, etc.) may be included as part of the application or sent in during the week following the due date.
- The applications should include both output and outcome measures by which you will evaluate the success of the project. Output measures are quantitative and include statistics such as number of youth attending programs, books circulated, number of programs held, etc. Outcomes are related to the question of whether or not your effort made a
difference and if so, what that difference was. Outcome measures might include changes in attitude or behavior; documentation of knowledge acquired, etc. Some evaluation tools you may choose to use include surveys, interviews, and focus groups.
- A detailed timeline noting planned dates of significant steps in the implementation of the project is included in the application. Please be precise and include details.
- The project director agrees, if asked, to make a presentation describing your project at a statewide or regional library system's event for youth librarians or as part of the Nebraska Library Commission's NCompass Live webinars.
Where can I find help
to write my grant application?
For general information, contact Sally Snyder at the Library Commission,
email, phone: 800-307-2665 or 402-471-4003. It is also helpful to ask another person not involved in writing the application to take a look at it and give
recommendations, for example, your system administrator can provide guidance in grant writing and with your application. You may contact a nearby librarian who has received a grant award in the past to ask for
guidance and advice. Show a draft of your application to someone who is not a part of your grant writing process and see what they think (one of your board members, your System Administrator, another library director in your area, Library Commission staff members Richard Miller or Holli Duggan). Links to lists of previous grant recipients are listed below.
What will not be allowed with
the Youth Grants for Excellence?
The purchase of furniture or food with grant funds is not allowed.
Applications that request funds for collection
development rather than focusing on purchases for a particular program or goal
will be denied.
In general, the
purchase of computer equipment is not allowed. This means that computer
equipment or technology that is going to be used for circulation, general
Internet access, etc. as part of the library's regular services would not be
considered. However, computer equipment and/or technology which is necessary
for specific youth programs or services and without which such programs or
services would not be possible, will be considered. Contact Sally Snyder if you have
questions. Grant funds may not be used for payment of salary or wages for permanent library staff.
AWE work stations, or similar stations of other companies, are no longer eligible
for these grants.
All grant recipients are required to acknowledge the State of Nebraska and
the Nebraska Library Commission when undertaking and promoting grant-supported
activities. Any announcements, public relations pieces, or other communication
about the project must use the following statement: "This program is sponsored
by the Nebraska Library Commission and funded in part with state funds allocated
through the Nebraska Legislature."