The American Library Association’s Center for the Future of Libraries provides a fellowship for an individual or group interested in exploring the future of libraries.
There is not a current open call for proposals for the Future of Libraries Fellowship. Information will be posted as it becomes available.
For 2017, Joe J. Márquez, Web Services Librarian for Reed College Library, and Annie Downey, Associate College Librarian and Director of Research Services for Reed College Library, have been selected for the fellowship. Their final Library Service Design Heuristics Cards are available for download.
For 2018, the Meridian (Idaho) Library District has been selected to create a project toolkit from their Tiny Library project – a 320 square foot, repurposed shipping container designed to facilitate early learning/literacy for the community’s families. Their final Tiny Library Toolkit is available for download.
The fellowship offers a stipend of $10,000 to advance new ideas and perspectives for the future of libraries through the creation of a public product – report, white paper, video, resource, tool – that will help library professionals envision the future of library collections, services, spaces, technologies, or partnerships.
Selected fellow(s) have access to the Center’s staff and Advisory Group to help advise and respond to their work as requested by the fellow(s).
Projects may build on existing work, research, or initiatives of the Association, its Offices, Divisions, and Round Tables, or explore new directions and interests.
Who Should Apply
The fellowship is available to individuals or groups in the library profession as well as those from other disciplines with a demonstrated interest in libraries and their futures.
This is an intentionally broad call for applicants. Faculty and researchers, practitioners, students, advocates, and allies are encouraged to apply.
Individuals should be prepared to conduct and complete their project within six months of selection, managing the project with existing employment or any other work responsibilities.
The fellowship does not include a residency requirement. International colleagues are encouraged to apply.
The fellowship will be ideal for individuals with:
- A passion for and commitment to the value of libraries and library professionals
- A unique point of view or vision for the future of libraries or desire to provoke thought around the future of libraries
- The skills and abilities to explore the future of libraries
- Strong analytical, communication, and writing skills and an ability to independently manage a project and delivery timeline
The fellowship may be used to advance an individual’s existing work or research, but is not intended as support for the completion of a degree, thesis, or dissertation.
How to Apply
Interested individuals are invited to submit an application of no more than three pages outlining their project, making sure to:
- Describe the proposed project and resulting report, white paper, resource, or other final product
- Explain how the project would advance and support library professionals’ consideration of the future of libraries
- Summarize any research, experience, or skills and abilities that qualify the individual for the proposed project
- Connect the project to existing work, research, or initiatives happening within the American Library Association or the larger library profession
- Provide a timeline for the project and their plan to complete the project in no more than six months
Additionally, individuals should submit a resume or curriculum vitae (including name and primary contact information) as part of the application.
How will applications be evaluated?
Applications will be evaluated by members of the Center’s Advisory Group.
The advisory group will evaluate applications based on:
- The effective design of the project, including its uniqueness and the innovation in its approach to the future of libraries
- The potential value, reach, and usefulness of the final product
- The demonstrated knowledge, ability, and qualification for the individuals to complete and manage the project
The proposals from 2017 that received the highest scores tended to fall into three categories:
- Projects that advanced innovation, design, or creativity among library professionals
- Projects that explored the next stage or application of current library trends (makerspaces, open education resources, collective impact) in new and important directions
- Projects that surveyed and documented potential library futures and communicated them in interesting ways to the public or new audiences
While this is a broad call for proposals, individuals are encouraged to think in terms of projects that will have an impact beyond a single library or circumstance.
What is the timeline?
There has not been a call for proposals for the 2020 Future of Libraries Fellowship. Information will be posted as it becomes available.
Selected individual(s) will be notified and will work with the Center for the Future of Libraries to finalize a schedule of completion, not to extend beyond six months from the date of agreement.
Selected fellow(s) will receive a one-time stipend of $10,000 to support their work. Funds should not be used to provide overhead costs or administrative fees.
Resulting reports, white papers, resources, or other products will be made available through the Center for the Future of Libraries at the conclusion of the fellowship.
Fellow(s) will be invited to present on their project at the American Library Association’s Annual Conference or Midwinter Meeting, with support for their travel and participation provided by the Center for the Future of Libraries.