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  Public Library Director's Guidebook

    Grants & Loans

First off - for the few who don't know - there is a difference between a grant and a loan. The grant is money that you don't have to repay (unless you violate some of the rules) while a loan is designed to be paid back in full plus a little extra. When looking at grants and loans, you need to know if your board or city council want only grants or are okay with you pursuing loans. Grants come in all shapes and sizes. There are grants that are over five figures and then there are little hundred dollar grants. Grants might have restrictions on them. You may need to show that you have earned a certain percentage of the grant's possible payout before receiving consideration. You may be able to spend grant money on only certain things. There may be demands such as holding certain programs, writing certain reports, or other types of requests. Many grants available for public libraries in Nebraska require that the library requesting the money is a currently accredited library. Loans are usually more straight-forward. Depending on the program, the city applies for the loan and then pays it back, plus interest.


One of your first resources for grants would be to look at the Nebraska Library Commission's Grants website.

  • These grants are specifically for Nebraska libraries and cover a range of possible reasons for needing money.
  • Creating programming for youth in your community, bringing technology into your building, or even paying for some of your continuing education requirements.

Other sources for grants and loans include the following:

  • Kreutz Bennett Donor Advised Fund
    • This fund has three grants available for libraries serving communities with populations under 3,000. One is to help unaccredited libraries achieve accreditation. A second is for improving programming or services. The third is to help improve the facilities of the library itself, including construction of a new building.
  • Dollar General Literacy Grant
    • If you have a Dollar General in your community, your library may be eligible for one of their various grants to help promote literacy. They even have a grant specifically for Summer Reading!
  • Pilcrow Foundation Grant
    • The Pilcrow Foundation was founded in 2013 to continue the work of The Libri Foundation. Their mission is to provide new, quality, hardcover children's books to rural public libraries across the United States.
  • United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Community Facilities Program
    • This program provides affordable funding to develop essential community facilities in rural areas. This includes libraries, city or county foundations, and other businesses in the community, especially those that are franchises of large companies (e.g. Wal-Mart).

There are other places to possibly get grants or loans for your library. There may be a city or county foundation that you could get funds from. Another place to look would be a resource created by Michigan State that has a collection of grants for libraries.

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