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Sparks! Ignition Grants for Libraries and Museums

Grants to Improve Libraries and Museums

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Institute of Museum and Library Services

Deadline Date:

11/15/10 11:59 P.M. eastern time


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Grants ranging up to $25,000 to develop innovative responses, services, and organizational practices to meet the challenges facing libraries and museums. Successful proposals will address problems, challenges, or needs of broad relevance to libraries, archives, and/or museums, will test original responses to these problems, and will make the findings of these tests widely and openly accessible.

Applicants may propose activities or approaches that involve risk, as long as the risk is balanced by significant potential for improvement in the ways cultural heritage institutions serve their communities.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 123886

Estimated Size of Grant:

$10,000 - $25,000

Term of Contract:

1 year


  • Historically Black Colleges and Universities; HBCU
  • Independent school districts
  • Nonprofit organizations (as described under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 and exempt from tax under section 501(a) of such Code)
  • Parochial Schools
  • Private institutions of higher education
  • Private Schools
  • Public Schools
  • School Districts
  • See RFP and/or Grant Guidelines for full eligibility

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Must be one of the six types of organizations listed below:

1.A library or a parent organization, such as a school district, a municipality, a state agency, or an academic institution, that is responsible for the administration of a library.

2.An academic or administrative unit, such as a graduate school of library and information science, which is a part of an institution of higher education through which it would make application.

3.A digital library, if it makes library materials publicly available and provides library services, including selection, organization, description, reference, and preservation under the supervision of at least one permanent professional staff librarian.

4.A library agency that is an official agency of a state or other unit of government and is charged by the law governing it with the extension and development of public library services within its jurisdiction.

5.A library consortium that is a local, statewide, regional, interstate, or international cooperative association of library entities that provides for the systematic and effective coordination of the resources of eligible libraries, as defined above, and information centers that work to improve the services delivered to the clientele of these libraries.

6.A library association that exists on a permanent basis, serves libraries or library professionals on a national, regional, state, or local level, and engages in activities designed to advance the well-being of libraries and the library profession.

Note: Special conditions of eligibility apply to the Grants to States program, some categories of the Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program, the National Leadership Grants program, and the Native American and Native Hawaiian Library Services programs. Please see the individual guidelines for these programs for specific eligibility requirements.

For the Native American/Native Hawaiian Museum Services Program, please see Native American/Native Hawaiian Tribe and Organization Eligibility.

All types of museums, large and small, are eligible for funding. Eligible museums include aquariums, arboretums and botanical gardens, art museums, youth museums, general museums, historic houses and sites, history museums, nature centers, natural history and anthropology museums, planetariums, science and technology centers, specialized museums, and zoological parks. Federally operated and for-profit museums may not apply for IMLS funds. An eligible applicant must be:

- located in one of the fifty states of the United States of America, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the Virgin Islands, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Federated states of Micronesia, or the Republic of Palau; and
- a museum that, using a professional staff, (1) is organized on a permanent basis for essentially educational or aesthetic purposes; (2) owns or uses tangible objects, either animate or inanimate; (3) cares for these objects; and
(4) exhibits these objects to the general public on a regular basis through facilities which it owns or operates.

Pre-proposal Conference:

The webinar schedule is:

- September 30, 2010 – 1:00 PM ET
- October 13, 2010 – 1:00 PM ET
- November 3, 2010 – 1:00 PM ET

Duration: 1 Hour

Webinar link:
Conference call number: 1-888-850-4523; Participant Passcode: 761243

Please test your computer’s compatibility with Adobe Connect Pro by visiting the following link: We recommend you do this well before the conference begins.

Participants may begin logging in to the webinar up to 10 minutes prior to the conference start time. We recommend you log in to the webinar before calling the conference call line. If you do not have a computer available to you, you may participate solely through the conference call line.

Pre-Application Information:

All applicants must register with prior to submitting a federal application. Allow at least two weeks to complete this one-time process.

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Program Contacts for Libraries:
Charles (Chuck) Thomas, Senior Program Officer
Phone: 202/653-4663

Robert Trio, Program Specialist
Phone: 202/653-4689

Program Contacts for Museums:
Helen Wechsler, Senior Program Officer
Phone: 202/653-4779

Tim Carrigan, Program Specialist
Phone: 202/653-4689

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