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Grants for Libraries: Funding Sources

Resources supporting the FLA 2018 presentation: Unleash your librarian superpowers to author winning grant proposals.

Types of Funding Sources

Understanding the landscape of grant funding can be important when deciding what types of grants to apply for.  Some grants require extensive planning, writing, and institutional preparation, while others may be very straightforward. A list of grant sources is provided below but is not designed to be comprehensive, but serves as a guide to various funding sources to help you start the process of learning more about appropriate grant opportunities.

Funding sources can be broken down into the following:


Grants from the federal government can be highly competitive and have a rigorous application process.  Grants can be anywhere from $5000 to hundreds of thousands of dollars. The Grants to States program is the largest bulk of federal funding to libraries, and support the purposes and priorities outlined in the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA). Florida's State's Division of Library and Information Services allocates the funds to public, academic, research, school, or special libraries or consortia based on community needs.  Other grants may originate from the IMLS, NEH, and NSF.

Foundations and Non-Profits

There are many types of foundations including community foundations, family foundations, and corporate foundations.  Some operate in very specific areas of the country, and fund only certain types of projects falling within the interests of the foundation.  Researching the funding history of a particular foundation will provide insight into how good of a match a particular foundation is to your project.  Corporate foundations often have no application process, as funding is often discretionary and based on specific interests of the corporation.  

Professional Societies/Associations

Grants from professional societies and associations often support professional development through research, travel grants, and scholarships.  They are typically less than $5000.



Downing, K. (2009, March). Show me the money! An academic library’s role in the art of grant-seeking on campus and in the community. 14th National Conference Papers (pp. 12-15), Seattle, WA: Association of College & Research Libraries.  Available: 

General Search Tools

Federal Government Sources logo 
Search for all federal funding options through the portal.

Institute of Museum and Library Services ​
Includes the ​​National Leadership Grants for Libraries, Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program, Activating Community Opportunities Using Museums / Libraries as Assets -  A National Leadership Grants Special Initiative.

National Endowment of the Humanities
Includes Preservation Assistance Grants, Preservation and Access Education and Training Grants, Digital Projects for the Public, Digital Humanities Advancement Grants.

National Science Foundation
Includes STEM + Computing K-12 Education, Research Experiences for Teachers (RET) in Engineering and Computer Science.  

U.S. Department of Education
Includes the Innovative Approaches to Literacy (IAL) Program, Race to the Top Fund.

Florida Department of State Grants page for libraries
Includes information on writing and administering Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) grants, as well as library cooperative grants, and public library construction grants.

Foundation & Non-Profit Sources

Andrew K Mellon Foundation
The Mellon Foundations accepts inquiries for grant support that strengthen the humanities, arts, higher education, and cultural heritage.  Proposed projects are then invited to submit a grant.  Areas of focus include higher education and scholarship in the humanities, arts and cultural heritage, diversity, and scholarly communications.

Council on Library and Information Resources
Independent, nonprofit organization that forges strategies to enhance research, teaching, and learning environments in collaboration with libraries, cultural institutions, and communities of higher learning. Includes fellowship programs and grants for digitization and preservation.

Florida Humanities Council
Grants to help support the development and presentation of humanities-rich cultural resources and public programs.

Community Foundations of Florida
Community foundations across Florida offer grants to support local communities and address local needs, including sponsorship grants for special programs and events. Search the Community Foundations of Florida directory to find your local foundation and potential funding opportunities.


Grants for Professional Development

Travel Grants

Hoping to attend a professional conference but don't have professional development funds?  Most library association groups and vendors routinely offer travel grants to librarians and library staff to pay for the costs of attending a conference. Here are a few to start with: 

Research Grants

Looking for support to jump start a research project.  Professional societies and library vendors are a good place to start for funding opportunities to support research.  

State Grant Sources

The Florida Department of State, Division of Library and Information Services has a number of grant programs including library cooperative grants and aid for public library construction.  

Library Services and Technology Act grants are federal funds administered through the State of Florida, and open to all types of libraries including public, school, academic, and special libraries.

Public Libraries

Public Library Association Awards and Grants

The PLA has numerous awards to honor outstanding library workers and programs, but also receives applications for its Romance Writers of America Library Grant, and the Demco New Leaders Travel Grant.

The Pilcrow Foundation 
The mission of the Pilcrow Foundation is to provide new, quality, hardcover children’s books to rural public libraries across the United States.
Libraries must be located in a rural area within the 50 United States, have a limited operating budget, have an active children’s department, and raise $200-$400 through a local sponsor. 

A.D. Henderson Foundation 
Broward County projects benefitting children ages 0-8 only.

Knight Foundation 
Grants in areas where the Knight brothers published newspapers including Miami, Bradenton, and Palm Beach County.


American Association of School Librarians
Numerous grants covering collection development, disaster assistance, reading, coding, and leadership programs.

A.D. Henderson Foundation 
Broward County projects benefitting children ages 0-8 only.

Scholastic Grants for Libraries list
Highlights grant programs that benefit children from foundations, professional associations, and corporations.

International Literacy Association Includes literacy, research, and travel grants to promote literacy worldwide.