RAILS My Library Is... Grants for School Libraries

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The next round of My Library Is... Grants for School Libraries will be announced in early 2022. Please subscribe to the RAILS E-News for more details.

View previous winners of RAILS Partnership and My Library Is... grants

Purpose

In 2019, RAILS launched the My Library Is… campaign to help all types of libraries talk about their value. By creating resources like videos, talking points, and templates, RAILS sought to assist libraries in conversations regarding ongoing support and funding.

As an extension of the My Library Is… campaign for FY21, RAILS plans on addressing the needs of school libraries. The My Library Is… Grant for School Libraries is designed to help school libraries tell their story in a more coordinated and impactful way. These grants are being offered in collaboration with the Association for Illinois School Library Educators (AISLE).

Audience

This year's grants are specifically directed at RAILS school libraries.

Libraries can choose to work collaboratively (with other libraries, organizations, etc.) or alone. At least one project partner must be a RAILS member and a RAILS member library must be the fiscal agent for the grant application. Only RAILS school libraries are eligible to be fiscal agents.

Recipients

The deadlines for the My Library Is... Grants for School Libraries has passed. Congratulations to the recipients who were awarded grants in March 2021:

Recipient:

Alan B. Shepard Middle School

Project Description:

With specific parts of the library remaining off-limits due to the pandemic, the Alan B. Shepard Middle School will build a digital twin for its Learning Commons. Using funds to acquire a platform called Matterport, the virtual learning commons will allow users to explore the space and learn more about resources available to all students.

Recipient:

Batavia High School

Project Description:

The best solution for addressing social emotional wellness is to offer multiple avenues for students to access reliable information and resources when they need it. With grant funds, Batavia High School will purchase an e-book collection of resources to support the mental wellness of students.

Recipient:

Beach Park Community Consolidated School District 3

Project Description:

By using grant funds to create a StoryWalk®, Beach Park Community Consolidated School District 3 seeks to help families bond and talk about literatures while they exercise. Working together with the local public library, park district, and a community health task force, the school district will add titles to support StoryWalk® materials.

Recipient:

Curie Metropolitan High School

Project Description:

After identifying a gap in the collection, Curie Metropolitan High School will use grant funds to establish a World Language collection of books in the following languages: Spanish, French, Mandarin, Polish and Arabic. Additionally, funds will be spent to help promote the new collection via print and digital materials.

Recipient:

Deer Creek-Mackinaw CUSD #701

Project Description:

Deer Creek-Mackinaw CUSD #701 will use grant funds to purchase four 3D printers. Working cooperatively with teachers, this project will expose students to new technologies and the opportunity to explore non-curricular interests.

Recipient:

Durand CUSD #322

Project Description:

Durand CUSD #322, which serves as both the local school and public library, will use grant funds to purchase new materials and to help promote the availability of library services for all community members. The plan for the library includes specifically targeting families with preschool children.

Recipient:

Kaneland High School

Project Description:

To help stir the motivation for students to read non-curricular materials, Kaneland High School will create a competition with The Million Words Book Club. The library will use funds to create promotion material and software to help track student reading.

Recipient:

Kankakee SD 111

Project Description:

Kankakee SD 111 will partner with Kankakee Public Library to host a Young Authors Contest. The grant funds will to towards creating promotional materials including bookmarks, posters, and stickers.

Recipient:

Lockport School District 91

Project Description:

Lockport School District 91 will parter with KGTV, a school webcast technology, to provide videocasts/vlogs to students around e-books and virtual book talks. Grant funds will be spent on technology which will students to more easily create excitement around reading and book exploration.

Recipient:

Prospect Heights School District 23

Project Description:

Prospect Heights School District will use grant funds to participate in eRead Illinois, a cooperative e-book program. This will allow students district-wide access to e-books and audiobooks that they would not otherwise be able to purchase individually.

Recipient:

Reed-Custer CUSD 255U

Project Description:

Reed-Custer CUSD 255U seeks to upgrade their current collection especially to add nonfiction titles. Having estimated a current average publication year of 2000, the district will look forward to new, relevant resources for their students.

Recipient:

Woodland CUSD 5

Project Description:

Woodland CUSD 5 will use grant funds to purchase "mirror" books (books that reflect ourselves and our own culture in the world) and/or e-content. These titles will be promoted on their social media pages, local media, and within the building to get the community reading about their own culture, the culture of their community, and the cultures of others.

Recipient:

Woodland Middle School

Project Description:

For several years, Woodland Middle School has been working on increasing the diversity of their collection. Under the title of the MOSAIC Initiative, the school will use this grant to purchase promotion materials to help students learn more about cultures, ethnic groups and languages that coexist in a society.

Recipient:

Zion School District 6

Project Description:

As a new PK-2 dual language school, East Elementary School will be utilizing their collection in ways previous not done. The school will use the collection to purchase new materials and promote the new collection to families in their district.

Criteria and Evaluation

See the My Library Is... Grant for School Libraries criteria and evaluation rubric.

Restrictions

The following types of projects will not be considered for RAILS' My Library Is... grants for school libraries:

  • Individual author visits, book fairs, conference/seminars, or any other one-time events that do not correspond with an ongoing promotional effort.
  • Building projects, vehicles, or purchases of furniture; please note that projects that include promotion/marketing of these materials may be considered, but funds cannot be used for construction costs or the physical materials themselves.
  • Requests for reimbursement of staff-time, wages or salaries.
  • Purchases of alcohol, gifts, or catering for events.

Grant Conditions

All conditions must be met to be considered for this award:

  • At least one project partner must be a RAILS member library; the RAILS member must also be the fiscal agent for the grant application; the fiscal agent will receive the check for any awarded funds.
  • The amount requested cannot exceed $1,000.
  • Grant recipients must submit a formal grant report within 30 days of the completion of grant activities. RAILS will provide a template to the primary contact after the grant has been accepted. This report will include an evaluation of impact and sustainability plan.
  • A copy of relevant invoices must be sent with the completed grant report.
  • Any unused funds must be returned to RAILS upon completion of the grant.
  • RAILS will not assist in funding costs associated with items deemed non-essential to the project, including but not limited to food, incentives, gifts, and prizes.
  • RAILS is authorized to promote the projects of all grant recipients through the RAILS website, social media, RAILS E-News, and other sources. Libraries are responsible for providing RAILS with information for publicity purposes.
  • Grant recipients are required to acknowledge RAILS financial support of their grant in any promotional activities.
  • Grant recipients must commit to making project products or outputs available for reuse under a Creative Commons license or otherwise freely available.
  • Grant recipients are required to write a blog post for the RAILS My Library Is... website.
  • Grant recipients are required to participate in RAILS Member Update to give a brief overview of their project.

Examples

Below are examples of types of projects RAILS is interested in funding. This is not, by any means, an exhaustive list. We welcome creativity and innovation and will consider both in the decision-making process:

  • Designing and printing brochures/flyers/handouts that describe the value of the school library
  • Planning a coordinated campaign to promote a library program/service or libraries in general using a variety of different media, including infographics, social media, video, etc.
  • Partnering with other libraries to develop new and innovative ways to promote library programs/services, such as social media contests or promoting the electronic resources available at the library.
  • Producing videos that show the value of the library or specific school library programs and services.
  • Producing a podcast that brings awareness to the library or the role it places within the school

Grant Webinar

On Wednesday, December 16, RAILS held an information session on how to apply for a My Library Is... Grant. That session was recorded and is now available for viewing below.

Application