September 10, 2015
By Tim Carrigan
Senior Library Program Officer, IMLS
The Office of Library Services at IMLS is pleased to post the notifications of funding opportunity for the National Leadership Grants for Libraries (NLG) and Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian (LB21) programs. NLG supports projects that address challenges faced by the library and archive fields and that have the potential to advance practice in those fields. LB21 supports professional development, graduate education, and continuing education to help libraries and archives develop the human capital capacity they need to meet the changing learning and information needs of the American public.
We’d like to draw your attention to a few significant changes to the way we’re managing our grant competitions this year, which will allow us to be more nimble and responsive to the field, while serving as good stewards of federal funds. As always, please review the relevant notice of funding opportunity closely for specific details on submitting a proposal to that program.
Two Funding Cycles
In fiscal year 2016, we are pleased to offer two deadlines to submit proposals to both the NLG and LB21 programs. The first is October 1, 2015, and the second will be in February 2016.
Increased Funding Cap
This year, applicants can request up to $2 million in NLG and $1 million in LB21. Please keep in mind that the average award made in NLG is $500,000 and in LB21 is $336,000.
Rather than have all applicants submit full proposals on the October 1 deadline, we are requiring the submission of two-page preliminary proposals, describing the project, its relevance to one of the two agency priorities (see below), its potential impact, its projected performance goals and outcomes, and its estimated budget. Those applicants whose preliminary proposals are the most promising and best aligned with the IMLS agency priorities will be invited to participate in the second phase of the process by submitting a full proposal and complete application by January 15, 2016.
This year, we have identified two funding priorities for the NLG and LB21 programs: National Digital Platform and Learning in Libraries. This past spring, we hosted IMLS Focus convenings where thought leaders helped us shape these priorities. In addition to those gathered physically in Washington, D.C., and Kansas City, MO, many others joined us via webcast and participated via social media. IMLS commissioned OCLC Research to write reports summarizing and synthesizing each event. In addition to the reports, the proceedings from these events are available for streaming.
The Office of Management and Budget recently adopted uniform administrative requirements, cost principles, and audit requirements for federal awards. Commonly referred to as the “Super Circular,” these are the terms and conditions that will govern your grant if it is awarded, and consolidate requirements previously found in eight different federal circulars into a single document. Additionally, IMLS has recently adopted new guidance for interim and final narrative reports with which grantees will be required to comply. Please be sure to familiarize yourself with the requirements of receiving a federal grant.
We want you to know that we’re here to help, so if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact one of the program officers and we’ll be glad to discuss your concept and offer guidance. Also, we held two informational webinars for prospective grant applicants. The webinars will be archived for your convenience.
We wish everyone the best of luck as you prepare your preliminary proposals, and we look forward to receiving them on October 1.