NASA@ My Library Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Preparing your application

Q. May I preview the application before completing it?

A. Yes. You may download a PDF of the application for reference; the application process is also covered in detail in the guidelines.

Q. May applications be submitted in hard copy?

 A. No. Applications must be submitted online by 11:59 pm (CST) on July 21, 2021. Applications that are late or incomplete will not be reviewed.

Q. This is my first time applying for an opportunity through ALA PPO'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. Do we need to collaborate with community organizations to be eligible to apply for this opportunity?

A. Yes, collaboration with at least one community organization is a requirement for this project. This organization should support your ability to engage community members in your project.

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

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


Q. What types of libraries are eligible?

A. This opportunity is open to public and tribal libraries in the U.S. Priority consideration will be given to libraries in communities with above average populations of demographics defined as underrepresented in STEM education and professions, specifically, Hispanic or Latino/a/x, Black or African American, American Indian and Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander. Additional consideration will also be given to libraries who provide evidence of need for resources to support learning (e.g., low median household income and/or education levels) . Geographic diversity will also be considered in site selection - rural and small libraries are encouraged to apply.

Q. My library does not participate in the Collaborative Summer Library Program (CSLP) , are we still eligible to apply?

A. Participation in CSLP is not a requirement of this program, but you should still plan to conduct programs around this theme or other project relevant topics.

Q. My library previously participated in NASA@ My Library. Are we eligible to apply again?

A. Past participation in NASA@ My Library will not preclude libraries from participating in this current round. However, past partner libraries should make sure to review the demographic considerations for this opportunity prior to applying to ensure their community is a fit for the selection criteria.

Q. Can public library systems or districts apply?

A. Public library systems or districts can apply for the NASA@ My Library project. PLEASE NOTE: For systems or districts interested in the NASA@ My Library project, ONE branch within the system or district must be designated in the application, with ONE individual from that branch serving as the NASA@ My Library Project Director. Materials may be shared among multiple branches within an awarded public library system or district, but the designated NASA@ My Library Project Director is responsible for collecting required reporting information from each branch within their awarded system or district that hosts programming using NASA@ My Library resources.

Alternatively, branches within a public library system or district may choose to apply individually for NASA@ My Library; however, applications from each branch within a public library system or district will be reviewed individually, therefore in competition with one another.

Timeline/review process

 Q. How many libraries will be awarded?

A. Sixty libraries will be selected.

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

A. Each application will be assessed by a panel of library workers and NASA@ My Library project staff. Final decisions will be made by NASA@ My Library project staff and based on peer reviewer feedback, and other considerations such as geographic distribution and community demographics. The review rubric can be found HERE.

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 on August 24, 2021. Please note that these emails will come directly from the American Library Association's grant management system so please be sure to check your spam filters.

Award Information and Requirements

Q. What is meant by underrepresented populations?

 A. In 2018, the Executive Office of the President set out a vision to “provide all Americans with lifelong access to high-quality STEM education, especially those historically underserved and underrepresented in STEM fields and employment.” While data on the U.S. science and engineering workforce has shown gains for women and underrepresented minorities - specifically Black or African American, Hispanic or Latino/a/x, and American Indian or Alaska Native - compared to the overall workforce and U.S. population, these groups continue to be underrepresented.

Q. What will my library receive if selected as a NASA@ My Library Partner?

A. Your library will receive professional and resource development to support implementation of programs related to high-visibility NASA events, access to a NASA-funded Subject Matter Expert for virtual programming, and $1,600 for programming expenses.

Q. What will be required if my library is selected?

A. Project directors must develop and implement at least three public NASA@ My Library programs related to the following high-visibility NASA events:

3. Including programs relating to the Collaborative Summer Learning Program ”Oceans of Possibility” theme, NASA Earth science, and/or environmental sustainability.

You will also be required to participate in virtual trainings, respond to third-party evaluation requests, and complete a final report.

Q. Can I use the $1,600 to purchase PPE? What about hotspots/platform upgrades/etc.?

A. NASA@ My Library programming funds are restricted to programming related expenses. These may include, but are not limited to:

  • Purchase of Personal Protective Equipment and supplies that will be utilized during NASA@ My Library programs or activities.
  • Purchase of collection materials relevant to NASA Science Mission Directorate content including earth and space science, NASA missions, NASA history and related content. Program staff can answer questions about specific titles, but generally, you can use your best judgment.
  • Tech equipment (e.g., virtual meeting licenses, iPads, Wi-Fi hotspots) that will be used in support of the NASA@ My Library program.
  • Program supplies (e.g., markers, index cards, refreshments) that will be used for NASA@ My Library programs and activities.
  • Library staff time related to conducting NASA@ My Library program activities.
  • Payment to community collaborators for reimbursement or direct funding of services and support provided (e.g., translators, instructors, co-facilitator).
  • Outreach and dissemination of information related to of NASA@ My Library events and activities.

Q. Are there any expenses that are considered ineligible?

A. Yes. Ineligible expenses include items not directly related to supporting the NASA@ My Library program. Additional ineligible items include alcohol, receptions, donations, fundraising, or similar activities.

Q. Can the programs my library develops for the NASA events be offered virtually? Do you have any resources for getting started with virtual programming?

A. Yes! Proposed programs may be in-person or virtual and should take into consideration local health and safety regulations related to COVID-19. The ALA Pandemic Preparedness page and the Programming Librarian website both offer resource lists with suggested webinars, articles, program models, and more related to virtual programming.

Q. What are Subject Matter Experts (SMEs)?

A. Subject Matter Experts are NASA-funded university students pursuing a career in Earth and space science. Through NASA@ My Library, libraries will be connected to SMEs at geographically proximate universities. These students will contribute their experiences navigating STEAM educational and career pathways to support libraries in patron engagement that supports awareness of and interest in STEAM.

Q. Will I have access to Subject Matter Experts to conduct the required programs?

A. Yes! In addition to support from a university student SME (described above), you will also have access to members of NASA’s Solar System Ambassadors and Night Sky Network. The NASA Night Sky Network is a coalition of over 450 astronomy clubs across the US. They share their time and telescopes to provide you with unique astronomy experiences both inside and under the real night sky. The Solar System Ambassadors Program is a public outreach program designed to work with volunteers across the nation who communicate the excitement of NASA’s space exploration missions and information about recent discoveries to people in their local communities. While both the student and volunteer SMEs do not charge for their programs, programming funds provided to participants of this program can be used to cover items such as travel, food, or similar expenses for subject matter experts.

Additional Questions

Q. I have additional questions about my application. Who can I contact?

A. Call the ALA Public Programs Office with any application or opportunity-related questions: (312) 280-5045 or toll free at (800) 545-2433 x 5045. You can also send an e-mail to