Welcoming Libraries Grant

FY21 Grant Application – open October 1, 2020 – October 30, 2020

Grant Implementation Timeline: December 1, 2020 – April 1, 2021

“Books are sometimes windows, offering views of worlds that may be real or imagined, familiar or strange. These windows are also sliding glass doors, and readers have only to walk through in imagination to become part of whatever world has been created or recreated by the author. When lighting conditions are just right, however, a window can also be a mirror…When children cannot find themselves reflected in the books they read, or when the images they see are distorted, negative, or laughable, they learn a powerful lesson about how they are devalued in the society of which they are a part.”

– Rudine Sims Bishop, “Mirrors, Windows, and Sliding Glass Doors,” 1990

“Diversity is being invited to the party; Inclusion is being asked to dance.”

 – Verna Myers

Welcoming Libraries Grants will focus on activities which improve equity, diversity and inclusion in Idaho libraries and better serve the community’s underserved groups of children.

Learn about our 2nd Year Grantees (Fall 2019):

FY21 Welcoming Libraries Grantee Project Summaries

Learn about our 1st Year Grantees (Spring 2019):

FY20 Welcoming Libraries Grantee Project Summaries

For the purposes of this grant, the following terms and concepts, as defined by the American Library Association, shall apply:

“Equity” takes difference into account to ensure a fair process and, ultimately, a fair outcome.

“Diversity” can be defined as the sum of the ways that people are both alike and different. When we recognize, value, and embrace diversity, we are recognizing, valuing, and embracing the uniqueness of each individual.

“Inclusion” means an environment in which all individuals are treated fairly and respectfully; are valued for their distinctive skills, experiences, and perspectives; have equal access to resources and opportunities; and can contribute fully to the organization’s success.


In addition, the following definition of “diverse experiences” by We Need Diverse Books, a partner of ALA, is central to this grant:

We recognize all diverse experiences, including (but not limited to) LGBTQIA, people of color, gender diversity, people with disabilities*, and ethnic, cultural, and religious minorities.”

In FY21, the ICfL will award up to 10 grants of $500 each to the Idaho public and school library applicants with the highest grant application scores received for addressing the stated grant goals.

The following grant goals were formed based on the ALA Core Values stated below:

“The American Library Association (ALA) promotes equal access to information for all persons and recognizes the ongoing need to increase awareness of and responsiveness to the diversity of the communities we serve.  ALA recognizes the critical need for access to library and information resources, services, and technologies by all people, especially those who may experience language or literacy-related barriers; economic distress; cultural or social isolation; physical or attitudinal barriers; racism; discrimination on the basis of appearance, ethnicity, immigrant status, religious background, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression; or barriers to equal education, employment, and housing.”

“All information resources that are provided directly or indirectly by the library, regardless of technology, format, or methods of delivery, should be readily, equally, and equitably accessible to all library users.”

  • To increase school and public libraries’ understanding of the specific communities they serve, gaps in their services, and how the library can help address these gaps.
  • To increase the amount of equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) resources a school or public library has available and ensures they are easily accessible.
  • To help library patrons find library resources that both reflect their experiences (mirrors) and that teach them about those who are different from themselves (windows)*;
  • To support school and public library staff as they work to make their library spaces more welcoming and accessible to all; To better serve underserved children with diverse, equitable and inclusive books, programming, and resources.

(*Note: for a wonderful summary of the “windows , mirrors, and sliding glass doors” concept, see either Rudine Sims Bishop’s video clip or Grace Lin’s Tedx Talk under General Resources in the grant toolkit below.)


  • Idaho public and school libraries serving children ages 0-18 may apply for grant funds.
  • Target audience for all allowable grant activities is children ages 0-18.
  • Applying school libraries must have at least a part-time librarian and the school librarian must be the main implementer of the grant and its activities.


Approved grant applicants will:

  • Participate in a post-award webinar for approved applicants to review resources and ask questions of ICfL staff and/or other library grantees.
  • Complete a minimum of 1 Continuing Education course on diversity, equity, and inclusion (EDI) in libraries via ICfL’s free NICHE Academy/Welcoming Libraries site (courses vary from 30 min to 2 hours in length). Course must be completed at the start of the grant period to help inform their grant activities and expenditures.
  • Implement and complete approved grant activities from December 1, 2020 – April 1, 2021.
  • Work with a community partner (organization or individual) to implement grant activities.
  • Spend all grant funds by February 1, 2021.
  • Complete and submit an interim/financial report by February 1, 2021.
  • Complete and submit a final grant report by April 1, 2021.

Underserved Children: Welcoming Libraries Grants will focus on activities which improve “Equity, Diversity and Inclusion” (EDI) in Idaho libraries and better serve a community’s underserved groups of children. Utilizing a Welcoming Libraries Grant, a school or public library shall engage in one or more of the following activities:

  1. Conduct a full or a partial community assessment and/or gather information about the community they serve by other means, such as focus groups and/or community interviews, in order to gain a better understanding of those they serve, those who are going underserved, and to ensure all viewpoints/experiences are represented in the library collection, programming and resources; Explore different types of diversity in your community.
  2. Conduct a Collection Diversity/Inclusion Audit of all or a portion of the library’s collection for children ages 0-18, resulting in targeted collection purchasing for real world representation and promotion of these new resources; (an understanding of the community their collection should serve must be understood or furthered before engaging in this activity); This may also include a marketing and display audit.
  3. Conduct a Storytime Diversity/Inclusion Audit of all or a portion of the library’s storytime curriculum, resulting in targeted or updated storytime programming, resource purchasing, and promotion; (an understanding of the community their storytime program should serve must be understood or furthered before engaging in this activity);
  4. Create or modify current children’s programming to accommodate for the needs of every user. This could be adding a Sensory Storytime or offering a special hour of adaptive event programming (fewer people, quieter music and subdued lighting) before the main event, or other programming to meet the neurodevelopmental or cognitive needs of your 0-18 patrons.
  5. Improve the accessibility of the library’s physical space and/or virtual space to make the space, information and programming accessible for people with disabilities. This may include the purchase of special assistive equipment or technology, a “library diversity walk,” and/or a revamp of your virtual programming or website to make it more accessible.
  6. Offer professional development for library staff to improve their understanding of the broad and diverse types of disabilities and how they impact the way people use the library and its resources; Offer professional development for library staff to improve their understanding of diversity and inclusion and how personal bias, background and beliefs impact collection development, program planning, and library services promotions/marketing. This may include the purchase of library professional development courses, speakers, training, or staff development books. There are several free options available on the grant page if a library wants to offer professional development but does not want to spend grant funds for this purpose.

(Library policy work is also considered an acceptable grant activity and can be incorporated into any of the above grant activities for no cost.)

*Required Grant Activities:


  • An analysis or thoughtful review of current promotion practices of library resources/programming and a plan to improve the way in which diverse and inclusive books, programs, equipment and other library resources are promoted, displayed, and made available inside and outside of their library in order to increase their ease and frequency of use.
  • Required Continuing Education staff training via ICfL’s Niche Acadamy/Welcoming Libraries site. Grantees will choose a minimum of 1 of the following free Niche Academy courses on equity, diversity, and inclusion for relevant/youth services staff to participate in:
    • “Conducting a Diversity Audit”
    • “Web Accessibility for Libraries – Part 1: Identify Your Library’s Strengths and Weaknesses”
    • “Web Accessibility for Libraries – Part 2: The Art and Science of Creating Alt Text”
    • “Web Accessibility for Libraries – Part 3: Linking Practices”
    • “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Library Imagery”
    • “Celebrating Inclusion and Diversity in Storytime”
    • “Serving LGBTQIA+ Youth in Your Library”
    • “Before Bilingual Storytime”
    • “Bilingual Storytimes: Reaching Through the Language Barrier”
  • Grant applications and supporting materials will be made available to all Idaho public and school libraries by October 1, 2020.
  • The grant application deadline is October 30, 2020.
  • Grant applications will be reviewed, and award decisions made between November 1-16.
  • Libraries will be notified of grant decisions by November 16.
  • Grant funds will be disbursed to approved libraries between November 16-30.
  • Implement and complete approved grant activities from December 1, 2020 – April 1, 2021.
  • Complete and submit an interim/financial report by February 1, 2021.
  • Complete and submit a final grant report by April 1, 2021.

Allowable Grant Expenditures:

  • Up to 80% ($400) of each grant can be spent on diverse and/or inclusive books for the library’s collection. The other 20% ($100), or more, of each grant shall be spent on supporting expenses besides books, such as: supporting materials/manipulatives/supplies, display or promotional materials, assistive technology, equipment, or supplies, professional development expenses for your EDI efforts, etc. This is not an exhaustive list of allowable items. Since EDI is such a broad category, ICfL cannot list all of the allowable items and encourages prospective grant applicants to reach out to the project coordinator if they are unsure that their proposed idea/expenditure is allowable.
  • These additional allowable expenses must be supported with clear grant activity and implementations plans and may include:
  • Grant related library displays, equipment and/or materials, etc. which are directly related to EDI grant activities;
  • Assistive technology, equipment and supplies to serve children with a disability (i.e. headphones for children on the autism spectrum will be considered allowable as related equipment.)
  • Promotional flyers, materials and marketing to help community become aware of diverse and inclusive resources;
  • Diverse artwork, posters, signs, or bookmarks, visual supports for storytime, signage and sensory kits, etc. to create a welcoming space in the library for all users;
  • Professional development books, webinars or in-person fees to guide library staff in a process or in learning new information relevant to EDI and grant activities – i.e. ALSC webinars

Non- Allowable Grant Expenditures:

The following are non-allowable grant expenditures.

  • Food and Beverages;
  • Construction;
  • Furniture, unless it is specifically needed to serve a certain group of children who do not currently have the equipment they need to access library services;
  • Computers, iPads, other Electronic Devices, and Electronic Equipment are only allowable if they are considered assistive devices/technology/equipment and will be used to serve a child with a disability (which includes but is not limited to physical, sensory, cognitive, intellectual, or developmental disabilities, chronic conditions, and mental illnesses) or by their caregiver to help them access library information or resources.
  • No more than 70% of funds can be spent on library books as it is not the intent of the grant to primarily fund collection development efforts. Note: ICfL cannot foresee all possible grant activity and expenditure scenarios and it is possible there are exceptions to this rule. Please contact the project coordinator if you are unsure if your proposed idea/expenditure is allowable or you want to discuss an exception to this expenditure rule.
  • Any Integrated Library System is not allowable. Other EDI-related software may be allowable. Please contact the project coordinator to discuss any proposed grant activities that are software related.

ICfL will provide the following resources to participating libraries:

  • A resource binder with printouts and source information for many of the resources linked on this grant page. These resources include tools, guides, websites, articles and webinars which will support libraries in the allowable grant activities. (See “Tools to Support Welcoming Libraries Grant” section below.)
  • Consultation services from ICfL staff as needed and as requested.
  • A $500 grant award to approved libraries by November 30, 2020 or at an earlier date if grant paperwork is submitted earlier than required.

Grantees are required to submit both an interim (financial) by February 1, 2021 and a final (narrative) grant report by April 1, 2021.

Please preview the grant report below to ensure you are tracking the required information. (Coming Soon!)

The grant report is formatted in Jotform. It is recommended that you compose all of your narrative answers in a Word or Google doc and then cut and paste into the Jotform when you are ready to submit as Jotform will not save entries until you select the “Submit” button.


Grant Application

Application open Oct 1 – Oct 30, 2020

Click here for a pdf copy of the grant application for FY21.

(Idaho public and school libraries may apply)

Interim Report Form

Interim Grant Report

FY21 DEADLINE: Due by February 1, 2021
Interim Report Form
Final Report Form

Final Grant Report

FY21 DEADLINE: Due by April 1, 2021
Final Report Form

Tools to Support Welcoming Libraries Grants 

The following program tools, articles and resources are available to any Idaho public or school library conducting this type of work in their libraries:

REQUIRED PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT for all Grantees: Please log-in to ICfL’s Niche Academy page or create a free account on our page by clicking here. Once logged into your account, navigate to the Welcoming Libraries page from the right-hand menu and choose at least one of the following courses to view/participate in with any of your library staff:

  • “Conducting a Diversity Audit”
  • “Web Accessibility for Libraries” – Parts 2 & 3
  • “Celebrating Inclusion and Diversity in Storytime”
  • “Serving LGBTQIA+ Youth in Your Library”
  • “Before Bilingual Storytime”
  • “Bilingual Storytimes: Reaching Through the Language Barrier”
  • “Serving Individuals with Autism”
  • ““Using Universal Design to Make Your Library More Accessible & Inclusive”

Or you may participate in a related, archived webinar from ICfL’s Info to Go series

  • “Neurodiversity in the Library”
  • “A Library for Everyone: Building a Model for Digital Library Accessibility”

NOTE: This required staff training is a new element to this grant based on the review of the 1st year of the grant. It is highly recommended that you and your staff conduct this staff training, whichever one is most relevant to your grant activities, near the beginning of the grant period to facilitate grant implementation success.

Questions? Contact Read To Me Project Coordinator, Kristina Taylor:

Kristina Taylor

Kristina Taylor

Outreach & Family Engagement Consultant
Email / 208-639-4136
Read my Blogs

This program is brought to you by the Idaho Commission for Libraries and was made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services.