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Back to Books

Eligible Materials  |  Application  |  Outcomes  |  Guidelines  |  Eligibility  |  Review Process  |  Schedule  | Budget / Funding  | Reporting

Back to Books is a collection development grant offering to libraries for the acquisition of books and other materials. Grant awards range from 2,500 up to $5,000 per library agency.

Grant Recipients

Eligible Materials and Formats

100% of the grant funds must be spent on materials. Purchases may include fiction and/or non-fiction books in variety of eligible formats, appropriate languages and reading levels. Acceptable materials include:

Ineligible Materials and Formats

This offering is not intended to support technology, equipment or software. Proposals that include downloading, subscriptions or non-book related purchases will not be funded. Inappropriate purchases include:

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How to Apply

The deadline for submitting a Back to Books grant application passed March 15, 2013.

Desired Statewide Outcomes

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Program Guidelines

Back to Books is a competitive grant opportunity. Every application will be given serious consideration by a team of experienced grant reviewers to ensure objectivity, fairness and equity.

Branch libraries and building libraries must work through their main administrative agency headquarters to submit one application per agency.

The Back to Books grant offering assists libraries in meeting the needs of patrons through focused collection development thus improving access to quality content and information. Adding and improving resources will ultimately enhance resource sharing statewide.

  1. Identify at least one primary target audience or demographic and clearly express their need(s) for the materials proposed. (Target Audience and Need). Also include:
    • The library’s budgeted amount for books/collection development during the current fiscal year.
    • A brief overview of library resources currently available for patrons in the proposed subject area(s).
  2. Recommend a two part solution to address the need of the target audience (Project Description).
    • Propose to purchase library materials connected by a common theme, in a subject specific area or related topics justified by use. The materials proposed must have a focus, but may include a mix of formats and genre. It is not necessary to list titles, but clearly express what will be purchased. For example, if an applicant demonstrates patrons have a compelling need for materials on Canada, propose topics to be included such as the history of Canada, travel guides, English to French dictionaries and multiple copies of new fiction titles featuring Canadian Mounties for the YA book discussion group. Provide details on audience, reading levels and/or formats if not obvious.
    • Explain how the library will engage the target audience(s) to use the new materials.

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Academic, school, public and special library agencies are eligible to apply. Applicant agencies must:

  1. Submit by the deadline, and propose appropriate use of the funds.
  2. Submit only one application on behalf of all libraries within that agency. There must be a mutual target audience or a shared focus for collection development. Multiple strategies may be proposed to engage the audience. Regardless of the number of libraries included on one application, the maximum request is $5,000 per application.
  3. Meet the criteria as defined by Illinois Compiled Statutes and the Administrative Code Rules. The agency must be recognized as a "Full Member Library" meeting the criteria for library system membership as defined by the regional library system's board and subject to approval by the State Librarian [23 Il Adm. Code 3030.10].
  4. Agree to honor the current ILLINET Interlibrary Loan Code [23 Il Adm. Code 3030.35 b (2)] and all current resource-sharing agreements. The library must share its collection without charge with other libraries in Illinois based on those agreements. Local funds for the library may not be decreased as a result of being awarded grant funds. Public libraries must participate in Reciprocal Borrowing.
  5. Complete the Annual Library Certification Process for 2013 prior to submitting an application. The certification process validates the accuracy of a library agency’s contact information, verifies basic data for branch or building libraries; and confirms compliance with the statutory criteria for membership in a regional library system.

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Review Process

This is a competitive review process. Each application must stand on its own merit and is evaluated based on the information provided in the application.

A scoring rubric will be used by the staff of the State Library and/or teams of reviewers to evaluate all applications. Final recommendations for funding are made by the State Library with the grant awards subject to approval by the Secretary of State and State Librarian. Only the awarded grant applications shall be considered public information. Working papers, individual reviewer’s comments, notes, and scores are confidential, not public information.

Applications will be funded that best meet the purpose of the grant offering and the 2013–2017 Illinois Long Range Plan for Use of Library Services and Technology Act Funds.

In addition to the meeting the criteria for library agencies eligible to apply, factors taken into consideration include:

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Project Schedule

Applications are due March 15, 2013.

Budget and Funding

Reporting Requirements for Awarded Projects

Grant recipients are expected to submit quarterly narrative, financial and final reports.

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