Competitive Grants

Competitive Grants

Libraries have responded to unprecedented challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic with innovative and creative solutions and an unwavering commitment to the values and principles of library service. As our profession and institutions transcend change, the State Library of Ohio invites all types of libraries to submit proposals for Ohio LSTA Competitive Grants within the following four categories:

Data Management and Analytics

Create strong libraries and communities by defining outcomes, developing assessments, drawing conclusions from data, data visualizations, and/or managing and using data to make better decisions.

Literacy

Supports the library role in the learning experience where literacy is defined as the ability to read, write and interact across a range of platforms and tools, and it encompasses early literacy, digital literacy, functional literacy, and others.

Outreach and Partnerships

Assist libraries in providing new and innovative ways of providing services to users and potential users and in reaching individuals at a range of locations and through a variety of methods.

STEM (or STEAM)

Provides for innovative and adaptable projects which will include creative, educational, programmatic and/or instructional elements designed to increase skills and knowledge for student success.

Applicants may request up to $50,000 in federal funds and all projects must include a 25% local cash match of the total project cost. Applications must be received at the State Library by 11:59 p.m. November 14th, 2022.

Documents Required for Application

Final Reporting

Upon completion of the grant contract period (August 31, 2023), two final reports must be submitted:

If you have questions, please contact the LSTA Coordinator, via lsta@library.ohio.gov.

When is the deadline to apply?

Applications must be completed by 11:59PM, November 14, 2022.

What is the grant term?

If awarded, grant terms will be January 1, 2023 – August 31, 2023.

Are matching funds required?

Yes. 25% in local matching funds is required. The maximum grant award is $50,000.

Is this grant open to all libraries?

Yes, all libraries are welcome to apply. Public libraries must be eligible to receive PLF funds, academic libraries must be part of an accredited institution of higher learning, special libraries must be willing to share resources. Additionally, library consortia, library networks, professional associations and recognized regional library systems are welcome to apply.

Is the application available online?

Yes, applicants can apply online here. There are required documents that will need to be uploaded, and the application must be completed in one sitting/session.

How will I receive funds?

In order to receive awarded grant funds, your library must be listed within Ohio Shared Services (OSS). If your institution has received LSTA grant funds in the past, an account already exists. Most K-12 school systems have an established OSS account. IT IS RECOMMENDED THAT YOU CONTACT OSS DIRECTLY at 1-877-644-6771 TO VERIFY YOUR LIBRARY’S INFORMATION.

NOTE: Grant recipients awarded $25,000.00 or above may also be asked to provide a Unique Entity ID (UEI) from the Federal Government. For more information on your UEI and the transition from DUNS to UEI visit https://sam.gov/content/duns-uei

How is this grant reviewed?

All applications will be reviewed and scored by State Library of Ohio staff and select outside reviewers from a variety of library types. Scoring is based on a prescribed rubric.

What kind of support is available for applicants?

The LSTA office can review proposals up to 10 business days prior to proposal due date. Draft responses may be submitted to LSTA@library.ohio.gov; typically, feedback is provided within 3-5 business days.

Staff are also available to discuss potential grant-funded initiatives, assist with idea generation, and provide feedback on possible initiatives prior to the draft of a proposal.

Who Do I Contact for Questions?

Questions on the grant or LSTA grant process should be addressed to Jeff Regensburger, Library Consultant/LSTA Coordinator at LSTA@library.ohio.gov, or 614-644-6863.

Download State Library of Ohio LSTA Competitive Grants Request for Proposals (PDF)

I. Introduction

Libraries continue to respond to the unparalleled challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic with innovative and creative solutions and an unwavering commitment to the values and principles of library service. The State Library understands these challenges and is here to help Ohio libraries develop and enhance programs and services to meet the needs of their communities. Ohio LSTA grants are an essential part of our service, and we encourage all types of libraries to submit proposals for Ohio LSTA Competitive Grants within the following four categories:

  • Data Management and Analytics – Create strong libraries and communities by defining outcomes, developing assessments, drawing conclusions from data, data visualizations, and/or managing and using data to make better decisions.
  • Literacy – Supports the library role in the learning experience where literacy is defined as the ability to read, write and interact across a range of platforms and tools, and it encompasses early literacy, digital literacy, functional literacy, and others.
  • Outreach and Partnerships – Assist libraries in providng new and innovative ways of providing services to users and potential users and in reaching individuals at a range of locations and through a variety of methods.
  • STEM (or STEAM) – Provides for innovative and adaptable projects which will include creative, educational, programmatic and/or instructional elements designed to increase skills and knowledge for student success.

II. Priorities and Funding:

The LSTA grant process is a competitive one. Funded projects will be selected on the basis of:

  1. Relationship to one or more of the LSTA Goals listed in the LSTA Five Year Plan 2018-2022. Those goals are, Learning: Engaging and empowering learning experiences; Community: Community anchor institutions; Content: discovery of knowledge and cultural heritage; Access: Sustain access to knowledge.
  2. Clear and succinct answers to questions in the Request for Proposals (RFP).
  3. Sufficient detail to understand the problem, need, or opportunity.
  4. Sufficient detail to understand how the proposal will be implemented.
  5. Benefit and improvement to the library, public, and community.
  6. Partnerships: Project partners and collaboration with other agencies is strongly encouraged.
  7. Sustainability: To be considered for funding, a project must indicate a plan to secure future funding.

III. General Guidelines

Proposals may request no more than $50,000 in federal funds.

A financial match of 25% of the total project cost is required from the institution. In-kind contributions do not qualify as matching funds. For example, if the total project cost is $66,666 the federal request would be $50,000 and the local match would be $16,666. For a project total of $32,000 the federal request would be $24,000 and the local match would be $8,000. LSTA grant recipients must complete all reporting requirements as outlined in the contract. Failure to complete these requirements may impact a library’s consideration for future LSTA awards.

LSTA funds are intended to be used as seed money, not for ongoing operational costs.

A library and/or consortium may submit more than one proposal, but only one proposal per institution will be funded. “Institution” is defined by the administering official authorized to sign the project proposal and contract. The administering official is: for schools, the superintendent; for public libraries, the president of the board of trustees; for academic libraries, the appropriate dean or provost; and for special libraries, the administrative officer.

All local matching funds must be available and committed at the time of signing the contract with the State Library of Ohio.

  • All matching funds must be a cash match. No in-kind contributions are allowable as match.
  • Matching funds may come from a library’s operating budget, Friends or PTOs, other grant awards, gifts, partners, etc.
  • Other federal funds may not be counted as match.

Any purchases of devices, computers and software must meet minimum American with Disabilities Act (ADA) guidelines. Grant recipients requesting materials that provide Internet access must be Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) compliant. All recipients will be required to sign federal assurances encompassing the following areas: Drug Free Workplace, EEO, and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as part of the IMLS Certification.

The Project Coordinator must have an MLS/MLIS or have a Library Media Specialist Certification. A potential project coordinator may contact the LSTA Office to determine if other educational certifications may be substituted.

IV. Proposal Format

Proposals should provide a clear description of the program and related activities to be funded by LSTA. The description should address all proposal elements delineated in Section VII.

To qualify for review, proposals must conform to the following:

  • Include Signature Page (with required signatures) and Budget as well as clear and succinct descriptions for all elements required in Program Description. Appendices should be included as appropriate.
  • Be in a font size no less than 12.
  • Be numbered on all pages.
  • Be uploaded as part of the online application process.

Failure to conform to the Proposal Format will result in disqualification.

V. Eligibility/Requirements

  • Public libraries must be eligible to receive Public Library Funds (PLF).
  • School libraries must be located in a school that is accredited by the state.
  • Academic libraries must be part of an accredited institution of higher learning.
  • Special libraries must be willing to share their resources.
  • Library Consortia are those library networks, professional associations, and regional library systems identified in “Libraries in Ohio,” LSTA Five Year Plan 2018-2022.

VI. Partners

Although not required, the State Library strongly encourages partnership projects. Having either formal or informal partners will strengthen your project. An official partner is a library or non-library entity that will contribute specific deliverables to the project. A deliverable may be a cash amount or personnel, training space, transportation, supplies, materials, printing or other items to be used in implementing the grant. A Partnership Statement will assist applicants in developing partner relationships as well as clearly define roles and responsibilities. A project may also include informal partners. An informal partner is a library or non-library entity that will assist in planning and promoting/marketing the project but will not be contributing specific deliverables. An informal partner may provide a letter of support for the project.

VII.  Proposal Elements

The proposal should consist of the following:

  1. Signature Page: Provide the required signatures in the format indicated on the Signature Page.
  2. Program Description: The following key elements (A – D), must be addressed in the grant narrative. Your narrative should address all four components explained below. Your program description section should be no longer than 10 single-spaced pages.

A)  Community, Library Users, & Need:
Describe why you are applying for a grant in the project category you selected (either Data Management; Literacy; Outreach & Partnerships; or STEM/STEAM). The proposal must demonstrate an understanding of the target audience, including the demographics and barriers to library use. Who is the intended audience for this project? How was the need determined? Is the project related to the library’s strategic plan? How will the project assist the library in meeting its mission and goals? How will this project assist the State Library in meeting one or more of the four goals and activities listed in the LSTA Five Year Plan?

    • If you selected the project category Data Management and Analytics, consider including what types of data you will be compiling, what questions you hope to answer and how the data collected will help the library and partners make better decisions. Will the data be stored, and how will that data be used moving forward?
    • If you selected the project category Literacy, consider including the type of literacy being addressed, demographic information related to the target audience, and any statistical data that will support the need for the project.
    •  If you selected the project category Outreach and Partnerships, consider including how the project might expand the library’s reach and impact. Is there a particular population that will gain access to library services through this project?
    •  If you selected the project category STEM/STEAM consider including the skills or knowledge the project will develop. Explain the rationale or justification for selecting them. How might those skills and that knowledge be applied by participants in real world situations?

B)  Project Overview:
What problem do you want to solve or how will you address the problem/need? This section should be clear, succinct and persuasive and it should be written for reviewers who may not be familiar with your library or library type. Include measurable objectives and activities that will indicate progress toward addressing the stated need. Include how library staff will be trained or prepared to support the project, how the target audience will be made aware of the project, and what will happen after the funding period has ended.

Following the narrative, include a table or timeline of project activities with the expected completion dates and who will be responsible for ensuring the activity occurs.

All LSTA grants are encouraged to have partners. A partner is a library or non-library entity that will contribute specific deliverables to the project. If your project includes partners include the name of the organization and describe their contribution to the project, including roles and responsibilities

C)  Expected Outcomes:
What are the anticipated project benefits? How will you document and measure the success of the project? Describe the method that will be used to gather information and determine whether or not the library has achieved project goals.

All projects that include instructional activities or programs for which evaluations are distributed are required to use IMLS LSTA questions. Standard questions must be used for each event and must be reported in a standardized format to the State Library in the final narrative report. Questions and format can be reviewed in Instructional Surveys.

D) Sustainability:
How will you continue and/or expand the project once the grant period has ended (if applicable)? Your proposal should include a plan for funding the project after the grant has concluded. A plan for seeking support from other funders to continue or expand project goals is important. Include the name of possible future funders and/or where you may seek additional funding.

3.  Budget: Complete the Budget using the required Proposed Budget Form.
Funds for library materials and/or equipment must be clearly aligned with the purpose of the project and must be essential for the project/service to be implemented. The budget, as the project, should be focused on the development of skills, not the purchase of equipment/materials. Funds requested must be for reasonable, necessary, and allowable costs to achieve the projects goals; the proposal must provide rationale to support how the proposed expenditures were determined and why each is needed to achieve the project goals. The Budget should include a breakdown of federal and local funds. Include an Appendix, providing vendor information, items to be purchased, format, cost per item, and origin of costs (such as links to the vendor website or screenshots from vendor “cart”). Specific information on budget categories and requirements can be found in the General Guidelines and Budget FAQ.

Allowable costs include:

      • Contractual services.
      • Equipment and/or technology necessary to support the success of the project. The acquisition of equipment should not be the primary focus of the project.
      • Library materials that support the programs that are the project’s main focus. The acquisition of library materials should not be the primary purpose of the project.
      • Indirect costs.

The federal government restricts the use of promotion costs. Before placing these costs in your budget, please contact the LSTA office to determine if the cost is allowable.

Non-allowable costs include:

      • Salary and fringe benefits for current staff
      • Ongoing operational costs (subscriptions, maintenance, etc.)
      • Entertainment costs (no food or beverages)
      • Fundraising, grant writing or advocacy
      • Construction or renovation costs

***For additional information about non-allowable costs, view Budget FAQs or contact the LSTA Coordinator via LSTA@library.ohio.gov.

4.  Appendices: Include appendices such as vendor information, letters of support or Partnership Statement(s).

XI: General Information

Applications must be completed online and in one sitting. This includes all required fields in the online form as well as an uploaded Project Proposal, Proposed Budget, and any Appendices & Supporting Documents (optional).

Applications must be completed by 11:59 p.m., November 14, 2022.

If awarded, grant terms will be January 1, 2023 – August 31, 2023.
Notification of funding will be provided after the December 8, 2022 State Library Board meeting.
Questions regarding the proposal process should be addressed to:

Jeff Regensburger
LSTA Coordinator LSTA@library.ohio.gov
LSTA@library.ohio.gov

***Proposal first-drafts may be submitted to LSTA@library.ohio.gov for review up until October 31, 2022.

Details for the Final Narrative Report coming soon.

Details for the Final Financial Report coming soon.

"*" indicates required fields

Before You Begin

  • Review the application questions
  • Applications must be completed in one sitting
  • Have the following file attachments ready

Project Coordinator Details

Project Coordinator Name*
Project Coordinator Address*
Project Coordinator Email*

Fiscal Officer Details

Fiscal Officer Name*
Fiscal Officer Address*
Fiscal Officer Email*

Project Details

Provide a brief summary (2000 characters max) of your project. The full proposal will be attached at the end of this form. Please be sure to include: Need for the project, Targeted population, Objectives of the proposal, Method of evaluation.

CIPA Compliance*

Please enter a number from 1 to 50000.

File Attachments

Upload your project proposal here.
Accepted file types: doc, docx, pdf, txt, Max. file size: 16 MB.

Upload your proposed budget here using the Proposed Budget form.
Accepted file types: doc, docx, pdf, txt, xls, xlsx, Max. file size: 16 MB.

Upload your signature here using the Signature Page.
Accepted file types: doc, docx, pdf, Max. file size: 16 MB.

Upload additional documentation here, such as appendices, vendor information, letters of support, Partnership Statement(s) or other supporting documents.
Drop files here or
Accepted file types: doc, docx, pdf, txt, xls, xlsx, Max. file size: 16 MB, Max. files: 8.

    Acknowledge & Submit

    Acknowledgement*
    We certify that local matching funds are available for the purpose of this project at the time this proposal is submitted or with the intent to commit local matching funds if the proposal is funded and if the new annual budget allows for such a commitment.

    By providing this electronic signature, I verify that my Fiscal Officer, Library Director/Administrating Official and Library Board are aware of and support this grant application.
    This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.