Beyond Words

beyond words logo

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

We have assembled a list of questions that may be raised during the application process. Please read through the answers and see if your question is addressed. If you need information not contained here, please also see

Eligibility & CriteriaGuidelines or  Scoring Rubric. If you need more assistance, email beyondwords@ala.org.

About the award Application process/submission Technical questions about the online form Definitions of key words Eligibility criteria Information submitted Purchasing guidelines

About the award:   

What kind of grant is Beyond Words?

Beyond Words is an independent grant project funded by the Dollar General Foundation.

How much are the Beyond Words grants?

Individual awards are for $10,000-$20,000

Two catastrophic grants  of $50,000 each will be awarded annually.  Note that catastrophic award recipients will receive a total of $50,000 in grant funds meaning that their initial $20,000 grant will be calculated into the catastrophic award amount.

How will the amount of the award be determined?

Applicants are encouraged to request funding based on their level of need. It is anticipated that most awards will be $10,000; however, larger amounts (up to $20,000) may be awarded based on the level of destruction and/or hardship the library has suffered. Refer to the scoring rubric for more detail.

Is there a time frame for spending funds awarded?

Funds must be expended within 180 days of the awarding of the grant.

How many grants are awarded?

The number of grants awarded is a function of the amount of money available from the foundation and the amounts of the grants that are awarded. Currently grant funds are replenished annually and grants are processed continually.

How is the grant evaluated?

Grant recipients are required to submit a brief report within one year of receiving the grant.

Back to Top

Application process/submission:   

Should I type my application directly online?

We recommend that you prepare the text in a word processed file. (We have found that Microsoft Word files are consistently compatible.) When you are certain that the information is correct and in final form, cut and paste each section into the application boxes where appropriate. Formatting may not translate. Do not use bold, bullets, or underlines. Keep the formatting simple. We recommend you use Microsoft Word for best compatibility with this application. Do not use quotation marks.

Whose permission do we need in order to apply?

Permission to apply must be determined by the school wishing to submit an application. If you have questions about this, please check with your district office regarding any pertinent grant application policies or regulations it may have. Beyond Words does not require that the district, the county, the state, or any other agency approve the application. Beyond Words' focus is on the individual school.

Can I get the principal's permission later?

No. The Principal must agree to submission of the Beyond Words grant proposal.

Can applications be submitted via email?

No. All applications must be submitted via the online application form.

Can changes be made once the application is submitted?

No. Please review your application carefully before submitting it.

Can an application be sent from a home computer or must it be sent from a school computer?

The application can be submitted from any computer that is connected to the Internet.

Is there a deadline for applications?

No. For general Beyond Words grants applications are reviewed monthly.

Yes. For the Beyond Words catastrophic grants applications must be submitted between June1 and May 31 to be considered.

If I submit an application, when will I know whether the request has been funded?

You should receive a decision by mail and email within two months.

Back to Top

Technical questions about the online form:   

Access to the application timed out before I sent it. I lost my information.

Prepare and save your answers in Microsoft Word. Then copy and paste the content to the appropriate boxes.

Access to the application timed out before I sent it. Why?

Your internet provider may have timed you out. There may have been a power surge. Or many other reasons could cause this. To avoid losing your information, prepare and save your answers in Microsoft Word. Then copy and paste the content to the appropriate boxes.

I cannot see all of the text in the box.

Use the scroll bar on the side of the box to see more text.

A word count in Word spell-check is different from what the counter shows.

The counter shows characters and spaces, not words.

Back to Top

Definitions of key words:   

Book

A print or Braille volume to be added to either the circulating or reference section of the school library collection.

Certified librarian

A person holding state certification as a librarian, school librarian, media specialist or other equivalent state-defined title.

Disaster

A natural disaster such as tornado, earthquake, hurricane, flood, avalanche, mudslide; fire; or an act recognized by the federal government as terrorism. Catastrophic disaster is defined as a disaster that has resulted in 90% or greater loss to the school library program.

Displaced/evacuee student

A student who is attending a public school other than their original school due to a natural disaster (tornado, earthquake, hurricane, flood, avalanche, mudslide), fire, or act recognized by the federal government as terrorism.

Equipment

Equipment used in the programming/operations of the library. Does not include furniture or shelving.

Library

A library is a uniquely designated space in which books and other materials systematically classified and arranged by subject and type are housed and used by the students and adults in a school.

Media

Audio-visual materials which may include but are not limited to videotapes, DVDs, CDs, pictures, computer software, etc.

AASL

American Association of School Librarians

ALA

American Library Association

Dollar General

Dollar General is a Fortune 500 discount retailer with more than 7,900 neighborhood stores. The company has a long standing tradition of supporting literacy and education in the U.S.

NEA

National Education Association

Back to Top

Eligibility criteria:   

Can private, parochial, independent, or home schools apply?

No, this grant is limited to publicly funded schools.

Can charter schools apply?

Yes, if they are publicly funded.

Can we apply if we did not have a pre-existing library?

No, this grant is intended to supplement an existing or pre-existing campus library program.

Do we have to be a member of ALA, AASL or NEA to receive the grant?

No. Any public school whose library program has been affected by a disaster is eligible to apply.

Can we apply if we do not have a certified librarian on campus staff?

Yes, if there is a certified school librarian available at the district or regional level who will work with you on the selection of materials/equipment to be purchased. Regional level may include service centers or equivalent, university faculty, or staff of neighboring school districts.

Can we apply if the Dollar General store(s) within 20 miles is closed?

Yes, if the store was closed because of the disaster in question. If the store closed prior to the disaster or not as a result of the disaster, then the school is NOT eligible to apply.

May a library/school submit more than one application if it serves more than one constituency? For example, if the library serves both a middle school and a high school?

Each library, regardless of the variety of constituents it may serve, is limited to one application.

Can more than one school in a district apply?

Yes. Beyond Words is a grant awarded to individual schools and not to districts. All schools in a given district are welcome to apply if they meet the criteria, but each school must submit an application that is specific to their needs.

Back to Top

Information submitted:   

Should we include tables, charts, or other information in attachments?

No. Please enter all relevant information into the form provided. Please do not send any additional information as an attachment.

How specific should we be in describing the materials to be purchased?

Please limit your description to the types or categories of books and media to be purchased. You should list specific types of library equipment (such as computers).

I already submitted the application but want to add or change some information. Is there a way to do that?

No. Be sure your application is complete and correct before submitting it. Duplicate submissions from the same school will be not considered.

I want a copy of my application. How can I get one?

We suggest you compose each section of the application into a Word document and then copy it to the appropriate sections of the application. Save your Word file.

I saved the application and came back to it later to finish but it will not submit properly.

You cannot save the online application for later submission. You must submit it online while it is current. Compose and save all your responses in Word. When you are ready, copy and paste responses into the online application boxes.

Some of my content does not appear in the box.

You might be submitting more than the allotted number of characters. Characters include spaces and punctuation.

Back to Top

Purchasing guidelines:   

Can we include processing costs as part of our requested amount?

Funds may be used to purchase materials that are pre-processed when they come from the vendor. Funds may not be used to fund salary costs for processing.

Can funds be used to purchase materials other than books?

Yes. Funds may be used to purchase audio-visual materials which may include but are not limited to videotapes, DVDs, CDs, pictures, audio books, e-books, computer software, etc.

Can funds be used to purchase equipment?

Yes, funds may be used to purchase equipment used in the programming/operations of the library. Does not include furniture or shelving.

Can funds be used to purchase furniture?

No. This grant is intended to replace or supplement books, media and/or library equipment in the school library setting.

Can funds be used to establish or supplement classroom collections?

No. This grant is intended to replace and supplement books, media and/or library equipment in the school library.

Back to Top

beyond words logo
beyond words sponsor logos