Future Ready with the Library FAQ

What is the Future Ready with the Library Project?

YALSA, in partnership with the Association for Rural and Small Libraries (ARSL), has put together an innovative project to support small, rural and tribal libraries as they provide college and career readiness (CCR) services for and with the middle schoolers in their communities. Library staff from small, rural and tribal libraries may apply to be a part of a cohort of learners who will be supported by coaches and mentors, and work together to develop CCR services and resources that meet the particular needs of the middle schoolers in their communities.   Cohort members will meet and work both in-person and online.

This project is generously funded by the Institute of Museum & Library Services. For more information, read the full grant proposal (.pdf) or the press release.

Who should apply?
The project is aimed at any library staff working in the U.S. in small, rural or tribal libraries with a service population of 15,000 or fewer, and/or that are 25 miles or more from an urbanized area.  Not sure if your library fits this description? Read IMLS’s report, The State of Rural and Small Libraries in the U.S., for more information.  

Types of eligible libraries include any that serve middle schoolers, including school, public, school/public combinations, community and tribal libraries, and juvenile detention facility libraries.  

  • Small = any library with a service area of 15,000 or less
  • Rural = any library more than 25 miles from an ‘urbanized area’ (as defined by the US Census)
  • Tribal = any library established by an Indian nation or a public library on tribal lands

In order to be eligible, libraries do not have to fit all three of the above definitions, just one. 

If you have a question about your library’s eligibility, please contact  Linda W. Braun, Future Ready at the Library Project Manager, lbraun@leonline.com

How do I apply?
The fourth round of applications for Future Ready with the Library Cohort 4 participants opens in April 2019.
 A virtual informational session for those interested in applying will take place on May 1, 2019.

What are the benefits for participation?
Those who are selected to participate in 2019 will be in a cohort of 20 learners. Cohort members will have the opportunity to:

  • Hone their skills to support service for and with youth in the community

  • Create or expand services that specifically support the CCR needs of middle school students and their families

  • Advance relationships with community partners

  • Build relationships with colleagues across the country

  • Access customizable tools to support your specific community’s needs

  • Access resources just right for supporting the CCR needs of middle school youth and families

  • Attend a face-to-face meeting at ALA Midwinter Meeting in Memphis, TN, November 2019, with travel expenses and funds for temporary staffing help in your library while you are gone being paid for through the grant

  • Build a small collection of materials to support CCR in the community with funds provided for by the grant

  • Attend conferences or other training opportunities in their local area to learn more about supporting CCR needs, with funds provided for by the grant

What will I be expected to do if selected?
Those that participate in the project as a part of cohort will be required to:

  • Actively participate in project activities from November 2019 through April 2020
  • Attend a one day face-to-face meeting in Memphis, TN on November 1, 2019.
  • Participate in online learning developed specifically for this project that will help you to hone skills in supporting CCR needs and in working with community partners
  • Participate in the project’s online Community of Practice to exchange ideas, and where coaches and mentors will be available to support you
  • Identify and work with a community partner to develop, deliver and evaluate a CCR service for middle schoolers
  • Participate in pre and post surveys in order to provide feedback to the grant project evaluator
  • Share your learning and any resources you developed with the library community

A key component of this project is that library staff selected go out into their communities to build relationships.  Therefore we expect those selected to be able to leave their library buildings in order to complete project activities.

We expect that the project will require participants to spend approximately 2-3 hours per week on Future Ready with the Library activities. These activities will include online learning, online conversation with colleagues and coaches, developing a CCR service with your community partner, and work in the community outside of the library building to learn about the needs of middle school youth and their families and to develop partnerships and relationships.

What are some activities that cohort members will be involved in and expected to complete?
During the face-to-face meeting in Memphis cohort members will:

  • Hear speakers discuss topics such as youth development, community engagement, and connected learning.
  • Work in small groups to improve understanding of youth development, community engagement, and connected learning.
  • Begin to develop action plans for working with community and middle school youth and families.

The agenda for the cohort 3 face-to-face meeeting that took place in Salt Lake City is available. 

From November 2019 - April 2020 cohort members will be expected to:

  • Meet regularly with community organizations, agencies, partners in the community outside of the library building.
  • Talk with teens and families, both inside and outside the library building, about their needs and interests.
  • Develop outcomes with at least one community partner for a service that supports middle school college and career readiness.
  • Post reflections, ideas, resources, and questions on the Community of practice approximately once per week.
  • Support other cohort members in their work by regularly engaging in the Community of Practice and responding to other's comments, ideas, questions, reflections.
  • Participating in monthly video chats about topics related to college and career readiness for middle school youth.

What will the evaluators look for when they review my application?
Evaluators will vet applications based on community need and the capacity of the library and the applicant to fully participate in the project.

When will I be notified about the status of my application?
The fourth cohort application process opens April 3, 2019. The application process will close on May 19, 2019. Once you submit an application, you will receive confirmation that is has been received. Application reviewers will work through May and June selecting cohort members. An announcement of who has been selected will be made in June 2019. 

What is the time commitment?
Cohort members are expected to dedicate approximately 2 - 3 hours per week for one year to this project, beginning in November 2019 and continuing through April 2020.

How many people will get to participate?
In the 2019/2020 cohort, up to 20 library staff from small, rural, and tribal libraries will be selected to be a part of the project.

How can I learn more?
If you have any questions about the project or the application, get in touch with Linda W. Braun, Future Ready at the Library Project Manager, lbraun@leonline.com or fill out this quick online form to receive news and updates about the project, including an announcement when the next round of applications opens.