Member Grants

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

Grant applications are available in June and due in August each year.

1. Action Grants intend to seed the resources necessary for an organization to act on an idea aligned with an organization’s mission and program priorities, and correspond with the needs and goals of its greater community. Competitive applications will offer evidence that grant activities and outcomes square with the needs or desires of the intended audience. The strongest proposals will contribute to efforts that leverage or contribute to broader projects (other groups’ or individuals’ efforts, online repositories, local/regional/state initiatives, etc.). Successful applications will demonstrate clear potential impact or outcomes with specific audiences. 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 [TBD], 2021. 

Action Grant

Click to download a sample application

Special Collections Grant

Click to download a sample application

Grant information sessions will be held online via Zoom:

Coming Summer 2021!

Requirements and Restrictions

  1. Grant funds are to be used for demonstrable contributions to an organization’s community.
  2. Projects that dovetail into wider efforts are particularly encouraged and will be given funding priority.
  3. The minimum grant amount is $2,000; maximum is $10,000.
  4. All projects must be sustainable: proposals must demonstrate the ability and commitment by the applicant to continue funded projects beyond the grant period.
  5. 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.
  6. This is a competitive grant program. Outside readers will apply this Application Rubric. For planning and development of an idea, applicants may find this Basic Logic Model to be a useful tool.
  7. The timeframe to carry out and complete projects funded by this grant is October [TBD], 2021 – June [TBD], 2022.
  8. Mid-year and final reports are required, as well as a presentation of project outcomes at the annual NNYLN Fall Meeting.         


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.

How do I learn more about these grants?

Network staff hold online information sessions during the application window each year (June-August). Sample applications can be downloaded above to show what information is required from applicants. Further inquiries about grant opportunities can be sent to