Eisner Grants FAQ

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FAQ Regarding the Eisner Growth & Innovation Grant Applications

When are the grant proposal submissions due?
The 2023 grant cycle is closed. Please check back in October 2023 for information about the 2024 grant cycle.

I’m a librarian in Canada or Mexico - am I still eligible?
Yes, provided you are an ALA member in good standing. Librarians / libraries across North America are eligible.

I need some guidence on my grant application?
Please check out this recorded webinar for some tips and guidence from Bill Jacobs, chair of this year's Eisner Grant Juries and 2019 Eisner Growth Grant recipients Laura Panter and Stacey Paynter from Sachem Public Library.

What if my project is not really “innovative” in the context of the wider library community?
The Innovation Grant is intended to help libraries innovate within their own library and community.  Innovation is slightly subjective because this grant could be VERY innovative for your library and community, but not for another community. If it is innovative for you, then you should apply knowing that you fit the criteria.

What is the difference between a Growth Grant and an Innovation Grant?
The Innovation Grants are meant for libraries that currently are not doing anything around graphic novel programming or any large-scale collection development. For example if you have a small graphic novel collection and you aren't doing any programming about comics but would like to launch a program initiative like a regular series of creator visits, starting a new comics group, launching a new comics convention in your library, etc. you would be applying for the Innovation Grant because this is something brand new for your library and your community. If you already are doing some programming with comics and graphic novels but want to expand that into something more - a bigger project, adding a new dimention to that project, additional days or activites, etc. that would be a Growth Grant application. If you are still unsure please feel free to email the GNCRT staff liaison, Tina Coleman with your questions: ccoleman@ala.org .

How much should I break down my budget?
Be as detailed with your budget as you can. The jury is looking at the budget not only to see how you plan to use the grant fund but also to see the full scope of the project you are proposing - do you have other funding partners or donations, are there internal expenses, are there in-kind services or materials that you have negotiated. The budget and the timeline help to give the jury a sense of how thorough your proposal is planned.

Are you looking for this project to have a specific timeline length?
Similar to the detailed budget, your timeline should provide as much detail possible. This is another piece that the jury uses to ascertain the depth of your planning. Are you being realistic about how much time it will take to organize your project? What are the next steps after your program or event to make this project or outcomes sustainable?

Is there a particular naming convention I need to follow for my uploaded files to support my application?

What are you looking for in a winning grant?
The criteria for the Growth and Innovation grants are somewhat different. For the Growth grant, the committee is primarily looking for impact. Tell us about the community that will benefit from your project and how this will affect a program already in place. The Innovation grant committee is looking for innovative ideas for your community, not necessarily innovative for everyone, and how this grant will impact your program and patrons. Both committees would like to see evidence in your plan and budget that you have a clear, detailed idea of the scope of your project and the capability to execute it.

Are there samples from previous Eisner Grant recipients I can review?

Do you have any advice or resources for first-time grant writers?
Sure do! Please check out these resources:

I have lots of ideas for this grant!  What should I do?
Stick to one idea and be clear and focused on that. Look at the criteria and see what would fit best with your goals.

Will all of the books in the included collections be appropriate for my library? 
Possibly not. The books in the Will Eisner Collection and the nominated titles could include mature content or content that you might decide is not suited to your community. Previous grant recipients have used this as an opportunity to donate some of the titles to another local library or institution or to use the books that don’t work for their collection as give-aways for other activities.

What if our library already has some of the included graphic novel collections (Will Eisner Library & current year’s Will Eisner Awards comics)?
It is possible that some of the titles in the donated collections will duplicate some of those in your existing collection. It is not possible to substitute or return the books for credit. If multiple copies are not useful to your library you might consider sharing any extra books with another local library.

Do manga count as graphic novels?

Is there a grading rubric for how this grant is analyzed?
Yes, you can see the rubrics the jury uses here: Growth Grant Rubric and Innovation Grant Rubric

Can I include pictures in my application?
Pictures are appreciated, but not necessary.  Please keep the number of pictures to 5 or less and make sure they are easily viewed and in jpeg or png format.

What if my project does not align completely with the budget break down, ie. what if my program or graphic novel collection will cost more than $1000/2000?
Your project can exceed the grant funds. You should illustrate in your detailed budget where those extra funds are coming from (existing library budget, donations, etc.)

Does the ALA member applying for the grant also need to be the project manager?
Not necessarily, but that person will be the primary contact for the grant and all of the communications - including being responsible for filing the follow-up report.

Do I need to provide documentation from my administration/Board that they have approved this project?
Your director or administrator will be asked to sign the award letter should your proposal be selected to receive one of the grants. 

If I receive the grant when will I be notified?
The deadline for submissions is in early February and the juries will need time to review the applications and deliberate. We aim to notify grant recipients by late March / early April at the very latest.

If I receive the grant how long do I have to execute my project?
You have until August of the following year to complete your project and issue a follow-up report.

What if I want to purchase graphic novels from small presses or self-published works that aren’t available from the distributor-partner? 
Diamond Comics Distributors is the distribution partner for this grant and the collection development funds come as a voucher for orders placed through them. 

If I submitted last year, will there be a reminder email sent to me that I am able to update my application?
Yes, usually within a month of the new grant cycle opening you will receive an email reminding you that your proposal is still eligible, giving you the option of pulling your proposal from consideration and with instructions for how to update your application. ALL GRANT CRITERIA STILL APPLIES so you will still need to be an ALA member in good standing at the time of the current grant cycle deadline to be considered.