Member Grants

The Northern New York Library Network offers member organizations grant opportunities in two categories.

Grant applications are available beginning in the spring of each year, due in the summer. Projects begin each Fall and must be completed by mid-June of the following year.

1. Action Grants intend to support a member organization’s capacity to contribute to shared local efforts, participating in collective goals and/or priorities of their greater community. Competitive applications will offer evidence that grant activities and outcomes will build relationships and communication among groups, act strategically to achieve a shared vision, and track progress in a way that allows for ongoing improvement. The strongest proposals will advance equity and co-create with community partners. Projects responding to the special needs or circumstances created by the COVID-19 pandemic should include that aspect in their narrative.

2. Special Collections Grants intend to support increased access to special content and collections in member organizations, especially for projects outside the scope of NY Conservation and Preservation grants and/or programs of Documentary Heritage and Preservation Services for New York (DHPSNY). Digitization projects should indicate how they fit into larger projects like NYS Historic Newspapers, NY Heritage, or Empire Archival Discovery Cooperative, for maximum discovery and access. Projects responding to the special needs or circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic should include that aspect in their narrative.

To Apply for a Grant

Download the Word document templates below and email completed applications to by August 4, 2023. 

Action Grant

Download the 23-24 application

Special Collections Grant

Download the 23-24 application

Grant Q&A sessions are held online via Zoom.
Register in advance to get a link to join these meetings

Optional sessions during the application period can be used by members to talk with Network staff about grants and applications. Please register in advance to join a session. 

File:Eo circle green white checkmark.svg - Wikimedia Commons Wednesday, June 14, 2023; 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm

File:Eo circle green white checkmark.svg - Wikimedia Commons Friday, July 21, 2023; 11:30 am – 12:30 pm

If you have a question, please contact, 315-265-1119 x1.

Requirements and Restrictions

  1. The timeframe to complete projects funded by this grant is October 2, 2023- June 17, 2024.
  2. Grant funds are to be used for demonstrable contributions to an organization’s community.
  3. Projects that dovetail into wider efforts are particularly encouraged and will be given funding priority.
  4. The minimum grant amount is $3,000; maximum is $12,000.
  5. All projects must be sustainable: proposals must demonstrate the ability and commitment by the applicant to continue funded projects beyond the grant period.
  6. Grant funds may not be used to pay for the normal operations of the library or replace current staff salaries with grant funds. No grant funds may be used for the retrospective conversion of library materials or continuation of library programs currently in place. Equipment upgrades are considered library programs currently in place and are not eligible for funding. Member organizations may submit only one grant, be it Action or Special Collections.
  7. This is a competitive grant program. Outside readers will apply an Application Rubric. For planning and development of an idea, applicants may find this Basic Logic Model to be a useful tool. The trick is to start with the impact you want to achieve (the right-hand column of model) and work backwards to the resources needed (the left-hand column).
  8. Mid-year reports are required, as well as a final presentation of project outcomes at the NNYLN Fall Meeting held each October.         


Frequently Asked Questions

How are grant applications assessed?

A team of external reviewers read and score each application. See this Application Rubric for an example of the tool used by outside readers to judge proposals.

How do I download grant applications?

Simply click the ‘Download’ buttons on the links above under the grant for which you wish to apply. The grant will then download to your computer and open in your local word processing application (Word, Pages, etc.) You may also edit the file in Google Docs.

What if I have a question while completing an application?

Q&A Sessions
Network staff make themselves available on Zoom during the application window to talk with members about grants and applications. Session dates are announced above and in email newsletters. Sign up for our Newsletter to stay informed.