Back to Books Grant Program Illinois State Library
The Illinois State Library is accepting applications to support the efforts of public and school libraries to develop their collections and engage readers of any age or ability in formal and independent reading or research. This offering allows for the purchase of books to support the reading and research needs of children, youth and adults.
Grant recipients will meet the purpose of the grant offering and address Goal 1 of the LSTA Five Year Plan: Position the Illinois library community to extend library services for all Illinois residents by providing access to information and ideas.
- School Districts (public and private) and Public Library Agencies are eligible to apply.
- The applicant agency must have completed the 2018 Annual Certification and be recognized by the State Library as a full member in good standing of an Illinois library system.
Range of Awards
- Requests from $1,000 to $4,999 will be allowed. The intent of the grant is for the purchase of books in tangible formats (not electronic).
- Budget based on your agency’s capacity to expend or encumber 100 percent of the grant award by September 30, 2018.
- Projects will be funded using Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) funds (CFDA 45.310), provided to the State Library by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).
- Approximately $700,000 has been budgeted for this offering, in anticipation of a minimum of 160 awards.
- The timeline is short. Purchase orders must be issued, expending or encumbering grant funds, no later than September 30, 2018.
Appropriate Use of Grant Funds
Fiction and/or nonfiction resources in multiple print formats may be budgeted but must be justified by your target audience's need.
Eligible formats include:
- Books – any reading level(s), any topic(s), any language(s)
- Large print books
- Graphic novels
Multiple copies of the same title, preprocessing and shipping are acceptable if justified. All library materials must be accessible to your library users and made available, as your agency normally would, for resource sharing.
Ineligible Use of Grant Funds
Do not propose use of grant funds for any of the following:
- Consultant Fees
- Entertainment, refreshments or social activities and associated costs
- Gift cards, prizes, reading incentives and giveaways
- Subscriptions including E-books
- Accelerated Reader tests or Reading Counts tests
Budgeting ineligible items will result in your application not being funded. If you have any questions about whether an item is appropriate, contact the State Library at ISL_grants@ilsos.net.
- Applications must be submitted via email to ISL_grants@ilsos.net with a time/date stamp before 11:59 p.m., Friday, March 30, 2018.
- The date/time stamp of a fundable application will be a primary determining factor in recommendations for funding. The request must also be submitted in the fillable PDF format required by the State Library.
- The application must be submitted through the agency's administrative headquarters with only one application per agency. Agencies with multiple libraries are limited to $4,999 and must combine the funding request into one application.
- Your application must be submitted in the fillable PDF format required by the State Library. The Back to Books application mirrors the process used to complete the PDF application for the Public Library Per Capita and Equalization Aid or School District Library grant. Please refer to the Instructions for Completing Fillable Grant Forms below.
- The processing of new resources in preparation for circulation may result in the necessity to schedule activities after the grant period, especially in schools. It is important to explain how the materials will be used to encourage reading or research, for information or leisure, even if activities occur after September 30, 2018.
Back to Books grants are designed to assist public and school libraries in their quest to develop their collections and engage patrons or students in activities that highlight reading. Successful applications will:
- Provide a general description of the books that will be purchased: fiction, nonfiction, reading levels, genres and other details to provide insight into what areas of the collection will be developed in response to your target audience's need. Do not list specific titles unless given as an example.
- Describe at least one library activity, program or service through which the target audience will be engaged to read or use the new books. Strategies to encourage your patrons or students to use the new resources may be new, a continuation or expansion of existing library services, programs or activities:
- STEM books and associated activities so students increase knowledge about science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
- Participation in Illinois reading programs such as Read for a Lifetime, Illinois Reads or Rebecca Caudill Young Readers' Book Award.
- Curriculum support for independent and formal research.
- Reading readiness, babies and books or reading development programs.
- Historical resources or biographies with activities linked to Illinois' bicentennial.
- Additional ideas to engage your patrons or students in reading are available from the Illinois Center for the Book.
- Choose one of the following LSTA intents: 1) Improve users' ability to obtain information resources, with emphasis on collection development; 2) Improve users' formal education, with emphasis on curriculum support.
Application and Reporting Forms
- Grant Application Due March 30, 2018.
- Grant Reporting Forms
- Instructions for Completing Fillable PDF Grant Forms
- Library Data Entry Guidelines
Applications will be ranked based on the date/time stamp. Date/time of receipt will be a primary determining factor in recommendations for funding. Please retain an electronic copy of the email submission including the application for the library's files. As it is incumbent on the part of the applying library to prove timely submission, be sure your copy includes the email date/time stamp.
If you do not receive an "application received" response in 2 working days, call the State Library at 800-665-5576 ext. 2.
The review process is competitive. Each application must stand on its own merit and will be evaluated based on complete information provided in the application.
This is a competitive grant offering. The State Library is not responsible for, nor obligated to fund any grant application that has been assessed as unacceptable due to the following reasons:
- The funding source has been exhausted, or the application is received with an email date/time stamp after March 30, 2018, whichever comes first.
- Paper copies of the application are not acceptable. Scanned copies of grant applications are not allowed; and any applications that are not submitted in the required fillable PDF format may be eliminated from consideration for funding.
- The application narrative is not complete; inappropriate items are budgeted.
- 20 U.S.C. Chapter 72, Subchapter II
- 2 C.F.R. § 200 OMB Uniform Guidance for Grants and Agreements
- 15 ILCS 320/7 (g)
- 23 Ill. Adm. Code 3035. Subpart G
- Administrative Manual
- Five Year Evaluation on Use of LSTA FY 2013–FY2017
- Illinois' Long Range Plan for the Use of LSTA 2018–2022
- IMLS Guidance on Reaching Persons with Limited English Proficiency
- IMLS Guidance on Making Museums and Libraries More Accessible
- Post Instruction Survey of Learners
For more information on Back to Book grants, please call the Library Development Group at 217-524-8836; 800-665-5576 ext. 2; or email ISL_grants@ilsos.net.