Find Nonprofit and Small Business Grants

Advance Search

Only Available for Paid Subscribers
Clear Filters
Search Filters

Best Small Library in America Award

Awards to Recognize USA Public Libraries that
Provide Exceptional Service to the Community

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

Add to My Calendar 

Library Journal (LJ)

Deadline Date:

07/17/17 Postmarked or emailed


Request a Grant Writer

Awards of up to $5,000 to USA public libraries that demonstrate excellence in providing services to populations of 25,000 or less. These awards are intended to encourage and recognize libraries for their exemplary work. Judges will evaluate nominations based on key factors, including:

- Innovation in developing services and programs that can be replicated by other libraries, including outreach to underserved populations
- Success in educating patrons in computer use and other new technologies, expanding the reach of library services via technology, and measuring the outcomes of technology usage
- Creativity in addressing literacy (or multiple literacies, such as digital literacy, information literacy, etc.) across patrons of all ages, including programs focused on early literacy and school readiness (please evidence of impact/outcomes where available)
- Demonstrated community support
- Sustained cooperation and partnership with other libraries, schools, other agencies, and businesses.
- Increase in library use, particularly by new users
- Evidence of library’s role as community center

Keeping the factors above in mind, nominees will be asked how, in the last two years, they have raised the profile of their library in their community, reached out to new users and remote users, impacted literacy in the community, and used technology to support and grow patron access to materials and information. Nominees will also be asked to highlight innovative approaches to traditional problems, including seemingly small fixes that work, and to highlight specific innovations that can be readily adopted by other libraries of all sizes.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 161277

Number of Grants:

There will be one cash award winner and two finalists.

Estimated Size of Grant:

The winning library will receive a $5,000 cash award, a feature story in the September 15, 2017 Library Journal, and online coverage. Two finalist libraries will be awarded $1,000 worth of JLG products and services, and special mention in Library Journal.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Nominee Eligibility:

- A public library serving a community with a population of 25,000 or less as of the most recent USA Census.
- A branch or mobile outreach initiative that serves a distinct population of 25,000 or less, even if it is part of a larger town, county, or district library system. The prize monies must be used only for the benefit of the population under 25,000.

Nominator Eligibility:

Anyone can nominate a library—the library administration itself, patrons, members of the community, library peers, etc.

Not eligible:

- A single community library serving a population greater than 25,000 and not providing service to a rural area or to a rural community is not eligible for the award.
- Previous winners are not eligible. Previous finalists are eligible to reapply three years after their finalist year (for example, a library honored as a finalist in the 2014 award year is eligible again for the 2017 award year).

Pre-Application Information:

Nominators are encouraged to reach out for guidance while developing nominations. Please do so by contacting Meredith Schwartz at the email address listed below.

Nomination postmark or email deadline: July 17, 2017

Electronic submissions via email are preferred. Send a Word document or PDF, or (for files totaling 10 MB or larger) a link to a folder in a cloud-based file-sharing service such as DropBox or Google Drive to Meredith Schwartz.

If you are using a file sharing service, please make sure your files are viewable to others, so they can be shared with the judges.

Contact Information:

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

Email nominations to Meredith Schwartz at

Or mail nominations to:

Best Small Library in America Award
Library Journal
123 William St. Suite 802
New York, NY 10038

If you have any questions regarding the submission process, please contact Meredith Schwartz at the above email address or by phone at 646.380.0745.

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Alabama;   Alaska;   Arizona;   Arkansas;   California;   Colorado;   Connecticut;   Delaware;   Florida;   Georgia;   Hawaii;   Idaho;   Illinois;   Indiana;   Iowa;   Kansas;   Kentucky;   Louisiana;   Maine;   Maryland;   Massachusetts;   Michigan;   Minnesota;   Mississippi;   Missouri;   Montana;   Nebraska;   Nevada;   New Hampshire;   New Jersey;   New Mexico;   New York City;   New York;   North Carolina;   North Dakota;   Ohio;   Oklahoma;   Oregon;   Pennsylvania;   Rhode Island;   South Carolina;   South Dakota;   Tennessee;   Texas;   Utah;   Vermont;   Virginia;   Washington, DC;   Washington;   West Virginia;   Wisconsin;   Wyoming