Libraries Transforming Communities: Accessible Small and Rural Communities - FAQ

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Frequently Asked Questions

General

Q. When will the grant guidelines be available?

A. The grant guidelines are available here. The round 2 application window is from September 11, 2023 until December 11, 2023.

Q. Is there a team of project advisors for this initiative?

A. Yes, we have already selected the group of advisors. You can read the bios of all of the advisors here.

Q. How long will the application take me to fill out?

A. We can't give you an exact time, because it depends on a few factors, but we would estimate about three hours. If that sounds like a lot, please don't let it dissuade you! In those three hours, we are including the time to create a log-in, review the questions, and think about and write your responses. When they read your proposal, our reviewers will want to get to know about your community, your plans, and how this funding will make a difference.

Q. Where can I find general grant writing support?

A. For tips on writing a competitive grant, watch the Programming Librarian webinars below:

Q. May I preview the grant application before completing it?

A. Yes. You can preview the grant application here (PDF).

Q. May applications be submitted in hard copy?

A. No. Applications must be submitted online by 11:59 pm (CT) on Dec. 11, 2023. Applications that are late or incomplete will not be reviewed. If you encounter problems interacting with our online grants management platform due to difficulties with assistive technologies, please contact publicprograms@ala.org or call 312.280.5045. Please also include information about the nature of your accessibility barrier so we can best provide support.

Q. This is my first time applying for a grant through ALA's grants management platform. How do I use the system?

A: For more information about using our grants management system, please visit our How to Apply webpage.

Q. I am an ALA Member, but my login credentials do not work when I try to login to apply. Why is this happening?

A: This application process is conducted through our grant system which requires a separate login account from your ALA member login. When you are taken to the application page, click “Create Account” under the login information prompts, and you will be taken to the Account Creation page. For more information about using our grants management system, please visit our How to Apply webpage.

Q. My library has multiple branches interested in submitting a proposal. Can branches apply individually or should we submit a single application?

A. Branches within the same library system may submit individual applications (even if they share the same DUNS number) as long as their institution meets the eligibility requirements. However, please note that this may mean that your applications are competing against each other.

Q. Can multiple institutions apply together?

A. Multiple libraries can choose to submit a single application together if they feel they do not have the capacity to administer the grant individually, or if a previously awarded site would like to expand their community engagement efforts by collaborating with a neighboring community. Please note that for libraries that apply together, one library must be selected as the primary applicant with all other institutions included as partners. In this case, the partner libraries should include letters of commitment which can be uploaded to the application in the “Upload Supporting Materials” section. The primary applicant will be responsible for managing all aspects of the grant and will act as the main contact for ALA.

Q. Who should my letters of support be addressed to?

A. You can address any letters of support to the ALA Public Programs Office.

Q. Are letters of support required?

A. No - letters of support are optional. You may choose to include letters of support from your community to provide reviewers with more information about your project and community partnerships; however, they are not required and will not impact your eligibility.

Q. What do you mean by certifying official?

A. The certifying official who signs off on your application should be anyone with your library who is able to submit applications for funding on behalf of the institution. This may vary depending on the institution but is typically the library director.

Q. Can the certifying official be the same person as the project director and/or the person submitting the application?

A. Yes. The certifying official can be the same person listed as the project director and/or the person submitting the proposal as long as they are able to submit applications for funding on behalf of their institution.

Q. Do you have a definition of disability or examples of what is considered a disability?

A. The ADA definition of someone with a disability is "Someone who has, has a record of, or is regarded as having, a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities (eating, breathing, walking, talking, seeing, etc.)." There is a wide variety of disabilities, and the ADA regulations do not list all of them. Some disabilities are visible and some are not. Some examples of disabilities include, but are not limited to:

  • Cancer
  • Diabetes
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Autism
  • HIV
  • Cerebal palsy
  • Deafness or hearing loss
  • Blindness or low vision
  • Mobility disabilities such as those requiring the use of a wheelchair, walker, or cane
  • Intellectual disabilities
  • Major depressive disorder

This list is not exhaustive, but serves as an example of what are some of the disabilities you can focus on for your target audience. Please note that while many people of an older age have disabilities, age itself is not a disability.

Q: Do you have a recommendation for how we can get an accessibility assessment of our library facilities?

A: This will differ for each location, so it is important to start your search regionally. Searching for disability justice/advocacy organizations or Independent Living Organizations in your area is a great place to start as they will have better local knowledge. Asking contacts at these more local organizations will be your best course of action. If you're still stuck, try some of these additional resources:

  • Regional ADA Centers (there are 10 regional centers that cover every state and territory, offering guidance, training, and connections to experts in the field)
  • Institute for Human Centered Design (consultation, budget-building, and design of accessible, universally designed spaces)

Eligibility

Q. What types of libraries are eligible?

A. This opportunity is open to any type of library in the U.S. and U.S. territories that serves a small and rural community(ies).

Q. I received an award in Round 1 of this grant, am I eligible to apply again?

A. Yes, you are eligible to apply for a grant again. It can be for a new project or to continue your project from round 1. Note that libraries who have not already received funding in round 1 will be given priority.

Q. What do you mean by a small and rural community?

A. The Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS) defines a rural community as one that is more than, or equal to, five miles from an urbanized area (defined as a town/city with a population of 25,000 or greater) and small communities to have a population of 25,000 or less.

Q. I'm from a suburban library serving a population of less than 25,000. Is my library eligible for this opportunity?

A. No. In order to be eligible, you library must meet both requirements for being a small and rural library. If your library is more than five miles from an urbanized area and serves a population of 25,000 or less, then you are eligible.

Q. I’m from an academic library serving a student population of less than 25,000 but we are located in a city. Is my library eligible for this opportunity?

A. No. In order to be eligible, academic libraries must be located in and serve a small and rural community that meets the IMLS definition above.

Q. My library service population is greater than 25,000; however, all of the communities we serve are small/rural. Are we eligible?

A. Many rural libraries serve communities in their surrounding area and thus may have a total service population that is greater than 25,000. As long as there are no towns/cities in or within 5 miles of your service area with a population of 25,000 or more, you would be eligible as a rural library.

Q. My library serves a small and rural community but is part of a consortium of libraries that serves more populated and/or less isolated areas as well. Is my library eligible?

A. Yes. If the applicant library serves a small and rural community it is eligible.

Q. My library serves a small and rural community; however, due to the way libraries are organized in our state, we are part of a regional/county/state institution that serves larger areas. Is my library eligible?

A. Yes, even if libraries in your state are part of a single state-wide institution (e.g., Hawaii State Public Library System) or are organized into regional/county systems (e.g., South Carolina or Wyoming county libraries), as long as the library or branch that is applying serves a small and rural population, it would be eligible.

Q. I work in a tribal library in a small and rural community. Is my library eligible to apply?

A. Yes. Tribal libraries serving small and rural communities are eligible to apply.

Q. My library has received previous Libraries Transforming Communities grants. Is my library eligible to apply?

A. Yes. Being a previous LTC grant recipient does not disqualify you. Your library is still eligible.

Q. Do I have to be an ALA or ARSL member to apply?

A. No you do not. We welcome all applicants who meet the above criteria.

Timeline/Review Process

Q. How many grants will be awarded?

A. ALA will award up to 250 libraries $10,000 and 50 libraries $20,000 grants in this first round.

Q. How will I be notified about the status of my application?

A. You will receive a confirmation email as soon as your application is submitted. All applicants will be notified of their award status via email by February 15, 2024. Emails regarding your application status will come from administrator@grantinterface.com. Please save this email address as a contact to prevent notification emails from being marked as spam.

Q. Can I edit my application after it has been submitted?

A. No. Applications cannot be edited once they are submitted.

Q. How will my library’s proposal be reviewed?

A. Proposals will be assessed by a panel of library workers serving small and rural communities and project staff of ALA. ALA will make the final decisions based on peer reviewer feedback, and other possible considerations such as geographic distribution.

Award Information/Requirements

Q. Are there restrictions on what the grant funds can be used for?

A. LTC grant funds are restricted to project-related expenses. Eligible expenses may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Library staff time
  • Honoraria for conversation participants
  • Payment to project partners for reimbursement or direct funding of services and support provided (e.g., ASL interpreters, live captioners)
  • Facility upgrades (e.g., automatic door openers, accessible signage, sensory space equipment)
  • Tech equipment (e.g., Braillers, iPads, virtual meeting licenses)
  • Books or other collection materials
  • Training for library staff (e.g., disability inclusion training)
  • Project supplies (e.g., markers, index cards, Post-its)
  • Promotion and publicity

Grant funds may not be used to support indirect costs (e.g. general library administrative expenses) or as donations to other organizations.

Q. Are capital expenses eligible budget expenses?

A. Yes. Please note that in the budget section of your application you will be required to provide information on what you plan to spend grant funds on and how the expenses specifically support your project plans.

Additional Questions

Q. I have additional questions about my application. Who can I contact or how can I get more help?

A. Call the ALA Public Programs Office with any application or grant-related questions: (312) 280-5045 or toll free at (800) 545-2433 x 5045. You can also send an e-mail to publicprograms@ala.org. You can also register to drop in during one of our many Virtual Office Hours.