An eligible applicant must be:
- either a unit of state or local government or private nonprofit organization that has tax-exempt status under the Internal Revenue Code;
- located in one of the fifty states of the United States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the Virgin Islands, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, or the Republic of Palau; and
- one of the six types of organizations listed below:
- A library or a parent organization, such as a school district, a municipality, a state agency, or an academic institution, that is responsible for the administration of a library. Eligible libraries include public libraries, elementary and secondary school libraries, college and university libraries, research libraries and archives that are not an integral part of an institution of higher education and that make publicly available library services and materials that are suitable for scholarly research and not otherwise available, and private or special libraries that have been deemed eligible to participate in this program by the state in which the library is located.
- An academic or administrative unit, such as a graduate school of library and information science, which is a part of an institution of higher education through which it would make application.
- A digital library, if it makes library materials publicly available and provides library services, including selection, organization, description, reference, and preservation under the supervision of at least one permanent professional staff librarian.
- A library agency that is an official agency of a state or other unit of government and is charged by the law governing it with the extension and development of public library services within its jurisdiction.
- A library consortium that is a local, statewide, regional, interstate, or international cooperative association of library entities that provides for the systematic and effective coordination of the resources of eligible libraries, as defined above, and information centers that work to improve the services delivered to the clientele of these libraries.
- A library association that exists on a permanent basis, serves libraries or library professionals on a national, regional, state, or local level, and engages in activities designed to advance the well-being of libraries and the library profession.
Note: Special conditions of eligibility apply to the Grants to States program, some categories of the Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program, the National Leadership Grants program, and the Native American and Native Hawaiian Library Services programs. Please see the individual guidelines for these programs for specific eligibility requirements.