Over the past 1.5 years I have applied for four library grants: The Laura Bush Foundation Grant, The Dollar General Literacy Foundation Grant, The Target Early Childhood Reading Grant, and The Lois Lenski Covey Foundation Grant. Each grant is slightly different, and I’d like to give a small sketch of each, hoping it might encourage more Georgia librarians to avail themselves of these generous opportunities so that book collections increase in many school districts.
At $5,000.00, The Laura Bush Grant is the most generous of the four. Because of its generosity, the application is also the most extenisive. The application typically is posted online around November 1st, and the deadline is December 31st. Winners are usually announced in April or May. The application has short essay questions about your school’s population, your school’s library collection, and your school’s community. You might have to invest some time in searching statistics on a government web site to complete the part of the application concerning your school’s community . It’s also best to read applications of past winners, and to read all the information, especially the FAQ section, posted on the website itself.
The Target Grant is for $2,000.00, and The Dollar General Grant has a maximum of $3,000.00. Both grants are rather easy to fill out, but they do require you to have an idea. Whereas The Laura Bush Grant is awarded based mostly on need, both The Target Grant and The Dollar General Grant want you to develop an idea or concept and show how the grant is needed in order to fulfill that concept; both grants also want the most “bang for their buck,” meaning your idea has to have an impact on a good portion of the school’s population. The idea for my school was as follows: each kindergarten- 2nd grade class would get a monthly book to help build up the classroom library. Every kindergarten-2nd grade class gets the same monthly book, and hence the title of my project is “On the Same Page.” To stretch the funds, I use the school’s tax exempt information and the 20% off for educators at a book store. I also wanted to support a locally owned book store rather than a big chain book store. Little Shop of Stories in downtown Decatur fits the bill perfectly: I can order the books via email, they have the school’s tax exempt information on file (we set that account up when I purchased the first set of books), and they notifiy me via email when the books come in so I can come pick them up. The students take an AR test on the books, the teachers discuss the books in class— plot, theme, setting, etc. When the students come to the library for check out, I show them other books by the same author, and we also discuss the book, the author, and the illustrator. Just this past week the classes received Llama Llama Misses Mama by Anna Dewdney. When the students came to the library and found other books by her, they were so excited! And of course those books were immediately checked out! That’s what we want– kids excited about books!
The Lois Lenski Covey Foundation Grant application asks questions about your school’s population (especially student reading level statistics), your library’s collection, and your library’s budget. You are allowed to stipulate how the funds will be used. Applications are due sometime in the summer, and winners are announced in mid-December.
Here are the websites so you can check them out!
Anja Tigges. Ed.S.
Librarian, Scott Elementary School, Atlanta Public Schools
1752 Hollywood Road, Atlanta, GA 30318