Grow Your Own @ Your Library Institutional Scholarship (HISTORICAL)

About the Grow Your Own @ Your Library Institutional Scholarship (historical)
This program was developed by the Public Library Association (PLA), a division of the American Library Association (ALA) to assist public library staff members who are working toward securing a library degree by awarding funds to the employing public  library for reimbursement of employee(s) course tuition costs at the undergraduate or graduate level.

There is no scholarship offered for 2011. Please check back in the summer of 2012 to see when the award will next be offered.

Administered by:

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Award and Frequency

Pending available funds, nine public libraries will be given $8,000 to be distributed to their employees who work toward their MLS degrees.  $6,500 is for direct tuition payments; $1,500 for support of one or more of the recipients to attend a PLA-sponsored CE event.
This award is not currently being given out.


This Program is On Hold. The applying institution must be a public library located in the United States and duly established and recognized under state law.  The application must be completed by a member of the institution staff, typically the library director or designated staff.  Applications may not be submitted by board members, trustees or other library volunteers.  When awards are made, the selected libraries will be required to sign a letter of agreement outlining responsibilities and deadlines.  That document is to be signed by the legally authorized library staff representative and the library board president.
The applying institution (or its governing body) must be able to accept and administer the scholarship on behalf of the employee(s) as outlined in the Administration of Funds and Reporting Requirements portions of this document.  At least one of the employees receiving scholarship funds must be able to attend a PLA CE event as specified by the applying institution.
Awards will NOT be made to those libraries that have received PLA funding in the previous years for the institutional scholarship.    Previous award winners are not eligible.
At the conclusion of the scholarship period, the applying institution must be prepared to provide information/share “lessons learned” with the public library community via PLA programming or publications.

Applicant Responsibility

Institutions that receive funding will be required to sign a letter of agreement and submit regular reports as outlined previously.  Report forms will be made available upon acceptance of award.
Additionally, institutions that receive funding will be required to complete a project evaluation at the conclusion of the program.
Institutions that receive funding will also be expected to share the models and best practices they developed during the course of the award period through publications and/or programming at the local, state or national levels.   
NOTE:  Failure to follow these instructions, or incomplete reporting will result in automatic disqualification of your application.  No exceptions to this rule will be allowed.

Application Instructions

This award is not currently offered.

Contact Information

Displaying active committee roster as of 12/01/2021. Last retrieved on 12/01/2021. Members can log in to view full contact information for committee members.

Selection Criteria

Scholarships will be made on a competitive basis.  Applications will undergo a review process by a committee appointed by the PLA president.  To insure fairness, phone calls or emails regarding this program will NOT be accepted.  Selected applicants will be informed via phone and/or email.  All others should check the PLA web page at in early February for announcements.  There will be no notification to those applications not selected.  Applications will be reviewed and funds awarded based on the following criteria.
The applying public library will demonstrate the following:
  • Meets institution eligibility criteria outlined above.
  • Has an institutional commitment to “growing its own” by supporting employees who are working toward an ultimate goal of obtaining the master’s degree in library science, with a detailed plan on how the goal will be achieved (to be described in the “Grow Your Own Plan” submitted with the application.)
  • Ability and resources to support and mentor employee(s) who receive funding from the award (to be described in “Grow Your Own Plan” submitted with the application)
  • Ability and resources to administer funds as outlined in “Administration of Funds” of this document.
  • Ability and resources to complete administrative/evaluation reports by the established timeline.  Reporting forms and information will be supplied to selected libraries at notification and acceptance of the award.
  • Ability and resources to share “lessons learned” from this project with the public library community via PLA programs and/or publications.