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DEMCO New Leaders Travel Grant

New Leaders Travel Grant Winner Reports

Award sponsored by DEMCO, Inc.

To submit an application for this award, visit PLA's Awards Online Application.

Purpose and Criteria

The purpose of these grants is to enhance the professional development and improve the expertise of public librarians new to the field by making possible their attendance at major professional development activities.

This grant has been established to enable PLA Members new to the profession and who have not had the opportunity to attend a major PLA Continuing Education Event in the last five years to do so.

Eligible events are the PLA Spring Symposium workshops; PLA National Conferences; and other PLA Events, such as Preconferences, held in conjunction with ALA Annual Conferences.


  • Applicant must be a current member of the Public Library Association

  • Applicant must have been a practicing librarian (with an MLS from an accredited institution) for five years or less.

  • Applicant cannot be a current officer or member of the PLA Board of Directors.

  • Applicant cannot be a current member of the New Leaders Travel Grant Jury.

  • Applicant’s supervisor or supervising authority cannot be a current member of the New Leaders Travel Grant Jury.

  • Applicant cannot have attended a major PLA continuing education program in the last five years due to limited or non-existent funding for professional travel at his or her institution.

Selection Criteria

Candidates must submit the attached application form, explaining why they are interested in the grant and how the knowledge gained will benefit their library and their career.

Selection is based upon the quality and appropriateness of the submitted proposals. Preference will be given to applicants who can document fiscal need for travel funds based on their institution’s budget and to those applicants whose continuing education goals fall within the framework of these PLA priority concerns (established by the PLA Board of directors in 1992): (A) Adequate funding for public libraries; (B) Improved management of public libraries; (C) Recognition of the importance of all library staff in providing quality public service; (D) Recruitment, education, training, and compensation of public librarians; (E) Effective use of technology; (F) Intellectual freedom; (G) Improved access to library resources; and (H) Effective communication with the non-library world.

Special Requirements

The event for which the award was presented must take place within 14 months of the date of announcement of the selected applicants; winners of the travel grants applied for in a given year will be announced no later than February of the following year. These grants must be used within 14 months of the announcement of the award. Failure to complete the travel will result in the necessity of the grant monies being returned to PLA, unless an extension is granted by PLA for extenuating circumstances.

The application must be signed by the applicant’s supervising authority indicating the release time will be provided for the travel outlined in the application.

Travel actually funded by the grant must be that specified in the grant application. Grant recipients must submit to the PLA Office a detailed report regarding the continuing education event they attended within a month of their return; this report must include a section on how the knowledge gained will impact the recipient’s library and/or career. An expense report and a copy of all receipts should also be included with the report. Eligible expenses are tuition, registration fees, lodging at a conference hotel (single rate), meals (not to exceed the ALA per diem rate), local mileage, transportation to and from the city in which the event will be held, and ground transportation.

Number and Frequency of Grant

Up to $1,500 may be granted per applicant, depending on the proposed budget; the number of awards presented may vary, but no more than $5,000 will be distributed to all recipients in any one grant year.

Grant recipients will receive a check in advance for the amount of their estimated budget request up to $1,500. Recipients of the grant are asked to contact the PLA Office (1-800-545-2433, ext. 5027) to request a check in advance.

Form and Donor

A travel grant of up to $1,500 per applicant for a total not to exceed $5,000 per year and a plaque.

Nomination Application

To submit an application for this award, visit PLA's Awards Online Application.

PLA will forward the nomination to the current chair of the DEMCO New Leaders Travel Grant Jury. PLA reserves the right to extend the application deadline.