Librarian & Entrepreneurship

Grant Funding Basics for Your Library


It is important to understand how grants operate before writing one for your library. You need to grasp the basics of submitting a grant and the library’s requirements. Continue reading to learn how to earn grant funding for your community’s library.

Understand What a Grant Is

A grant is simply a financial award that is designed to be used for a specific purpose or project. Grants differ from other funding since the money is tied to specific library goals or outcomes. Still, you must use grant money for its intended purpose and document your team’s work. Grants are awarded by grantors, or the group that is the source of the funding. There are three different types of grantors including nonprofit foundations, corporations, and the state and federal government. Individuals, families, or nonprofit community organizations fund private foundation grants. Businesses fund corporate grant gifts.  Finally, the federal government funds state and nationally controlled library grants through the IMLS.

Who Qualifies for a Grant?

There are four different categories to determine qualifications for grant funding. Nonprofit organizations that are registered as a 501c3 corporation and religious organizations come under nonprofit grantee receiver status. Grants for individuals, including students, researchers, scholars, and artists fall into another category. Finally, there are grants for tax-supported organizations such as schools, first responders, and government agencies like libraries.

Still, private organizations with public interests such as library Friends groups, and fundraising charities also qualify depending upon tax status. Grantors will clearly state grant requirements. For example, if a tax ID is needed in the application.

How to Find Library Grants

There are several ways to research grants for your library’s funding needs. For example, attending workshops and professional development meetings related to your project’s cause is one way. Subscribing to specific grant websites such as is another method to find grant money. You can also search specific projects at a one stop listing for upcoming grants. However, partnering with local corporations regarding unique grant opportunities for literacy or educational funds is also helpful. Reaching out to other unconventional civic groups which support mutual goals for the library and the group is another idea.

Furthermore, the best way to find out if your library qualifies for a grant is to read the application instructions. The application will explain funding goals, demographics of those served, and the documentation required after the grant is earned. Give it a try and good luck!