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Calling all Vermont public libraries!

The Vermont State Department of Libraries and Vermont Space Grant Consortium have partnered to invite applications for grants of up to $1,000 to support STEM programming at Vermont public libraries. The objective of this grant program is to increase STEM engagement capacity at the community level across Vermont by providing our public libraries with supplemental funding to deliver high quality programs. Vermont contains the highest proportion of libraries and book mobiles (30.1 per 100,000), has the third highest rate of visits (5.5 per person), and the second highest per capita books and documents (4.6 per person) in the country. Public libraries offer quality programming at the local level, acting as a critical educational and community resource. With such amazing engagement and community support already, we believe it is important to support our public libraries as much as possible.

Applications for the 2024-2025 Vermont Public Library Grant Program are open now! Due: July 19, 2024. 
Awards will be announced by August 15th with funding periods of August 15, 2024 - June 5, 2025.

See the Request for Applications here or read below.

BACKGROUND: The Vermont Space Grant Consortium is a NASA program supporting science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) in the state of Vermont. The program's goal is to contribute to the nation's science enterprise by funding education, research, and public engagement projects through a national network of Space Grants. To support these goals, the VTSGC and Vermont Department for Libraries partnered to invite applications for grants up to $1,000 to support STEM programming at Vermont public libraries. The objective of this grant program is to increase STEM engagement capacity at the community level across Vermont by providing public libraries with supplemental funding to deliver high quality programming. Proposed projects must be strongly aligned with NASA priorities and STEM concepts and should have the potential to engage diverse and/or underrepresented populations of Vermonters. The number of these awards is subject to availability of NASA funding, and we anticipate awarding no more than 7 grants per year. These awards are subject to a 50% cost-share requirement described in the budget section below.

WHO IS ELIGIBLE: Eligible organizations include all recognized Vermont public libraries. Support from NASA funding is restricted to U.S. citizens, so any salary support for library staff must be budgeted accordingly. Libraries servicing a shared area may submit a joint application with a single lead library identified for administration of the grant, if awarded.

DESCRIPTION OF AWARD: Awards of up to $1,000 will provide financial support to develop and/or administer new STEM programming at Vermont public libraries. Proposed programs must have a substantial educational component in one or more STEM disciplines; must target K-12 students (or a subset of grade levels within K-12); and must have a potential to engage a substantial number of learners. The STAR Library Network is a useful tool for libraries that may contain ideas, resources, and content that can be tailored to meet the goals of the proposal. Examples for eligible use of funds include but are not limited to:

  • Purchasing participant-focused materials needed to deliver the program, such as STEM kits, model rockets, measurement tools, etc.
  • Costs (subject to approval) to host an external STEM vendor, such as museum personnel, guest speakers, etc.
  • Salary support for library staff to design and deliver the proposed STEM program

All use of funds, including external vendors, will be subject to approval by the VTSGC based on NASA regulations and should be detailed in the proposal.

OBLIGATIONS WITH AWARDS: All awardees will be required to provide a final report within 30 days of the end of their award period. Additional progress update(s) may be requested during the award period to address NASA reporting requirements.

REVIEW CRITERIA: Selected applications will propose STEM programming that will engage K-12 aged students and will have a clearly described plan to develop and administer the suggested programming.

Priority consideration will be given to meritorious proposals that:

  • Have the potential to engage a substantial number of individuals from underrepresented groups (e.g., rural, first-generation, etc.), and/or
  • Are submitted by libraries/Vermont regions that have not yet received an award

Applications will be reviewed by a panel of VTSGC and Vermont Department for Libraries staff who will assess the strengths and weaknesses in each of the following domains: overall impact, innovation, and populations to be engaged. All applicants will receive written critiques regardless of award outcome. 

BUDGET AND MATCHING FUNDS (COST-SHARE): A detailed budget and narrative must be part of the application package. All budget items should be fully explained within the narrative with detailed breakdowns in a budget table. For proposals that include staff salary support, the salary rates must mirror the current rates paid at the library. 

A 50% cost-share is required for applications to be eligible for funding. For example, an application requesting $600 of funding support must also intend to spend $300 of their own budget on the proposed activity(s). A common source of matching funds includes in-kind cost-sharing, such as salaries for library staff. (E.g., the library can count $300 of library staff paid time developing and administering the program as their cost-share.)

APPLICATION DETAILS: Applications must use 12-point font and 1-inch margins and should be submitted as a single PDF file emailed to SG.Director@uvm.edu using the subject line "2024 Library Grant Application." See the Application Guide for details on how to prepare your application. Please contact VTSGC Program Administrator, Ellen Brennan, at Ellen.Brennan@uvm.edu with any questions or needed assistance.

APPLICATION CHECKLIST:

  1. Cover page (provided here)
  2. Program narrative (limit: 1 page)
  3. Description of the library(s) and community served (limit: 500 words)
  4. Budget Detail with narrative and cost-share plan
  5. If applicable, a signed letter of commitment from external STEM vendors that will be participating in the proposed program.

STAR Library Network

The STAR Library Network (STAR Net) is a hands-on learning network for libraries and their communities across the Country. STAR Net focuses on helping library professionals build their STEM skills by providing "science-technology activities and resources" (STAR) and training to use those resources.

Join the community for free to access professional development for library staff, networking opportunities, STEAM resources, STEM exhibits & events, and more! Access things like STEM kits, conferences, NASA events, and much more.