Underserved Children: Welcoming Libraries Grant

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

Grant Implementation Timeline: December 1, 2020 – March 31, 2021

The Idaho Commission for Libraries (ICfL) embraces the idea that libraries should be welcoming and engaging spaces for all people. Some children who visit our library (or don’t visit our library) are going underserved or unserved because they do not feel welcome or included in some of our libraries/spaces or they do not find themselves and their experiences reflected in their library.

Applying libraries will utilize Underserved Children: Welcoming Libraries Grants to ensure that every individual feels truly welcomed and included at the library. 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 current grantees:

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.

To ensure that every individual will feel truly welcomed and included, library staff and administrators should reflect the origins, age, background, and views of their community. Governing bodies should also reflect the community. Library spaces, programs, and collections should accommodate the needs of every user.”


In FY20, the ICfL will award 14 grants of $500 each to the public and school library applicants with the highest grant application scores received for addressing the stated grant goals.

  • To increase school and public libraries understanding of the specific communities they serve and how this understanding is reflected in their professional development plans, collection development practices and physical library spaces;
  • To ensure all school and public 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 libraries and library staff as they work to make their library resources and spaces more welcoming and accessible to all; To better serve underserved children with diverse and inclusive resources.

(Note: for a wonderful summary of the “windows and mirrors” concept, see 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.
  • Implement and complete approved grant activities from March 1, 2020 – May 31, 2020.
  • Work with a community partner (organization or individual) to implement grant activities.
  • Spend all grant funds by May 31, 2020.
  • Complete and submit a final grant report by June 1, 2020.

Utilizing a Welcoming Libraries Grant, a school or public library must engage in the following activity:

  • ALL PARTICIPATING LIBRARIES MUST INCLUDE an analysis or thoughtful review of current promotion practices of library resources 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.

Utilizing a Welcoming Libraries Grant, a school or public library shall also engage in one or more of the following activities:

  • 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 and to ensure all viewpoints/experiences are represented in the library collection;
  • 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 and promotion; (an understanding of the community their collection should serve must be understood or furthered before engaging in this activity);
  • Conduct a Storytime Diversity/Inclusion Audit of all or a portion of the library’s storytime curriculum, resulting in targeted storytime resource purchasing and promotion; (an understanding of the community their storytime program should serve must be understood or furthered before engaging in this activity);
  • Improve the library’s physical space, programming and/or available equipment to make it more welcoming for all people and all abilities; (This activity may involve a Library Diversity Walk or a Sensory Library Certification process);
  • Grant applications and supporting materials will be made available to all Idaho public and school libraries by January 1, 2020.
  • The grant application deadline is January 31, 2020.
  • Grant applications will be reviewed and award decisions made between February 3-14.
  • Libraries will be notified of grant decisions by February 18.
  • Grant funds will be disbursed to approved libraries between February 18-28.
  • Implement and complete approved grant activities from March 1, 2020 – May 31, 2020.
  • Spend all grant funds by May 31, 2020.
  • Complete and submit a final grant report by June 1, 2020.

Allowable Grant Expenditures:

  • Up to 60% ($300) of each grant can be spent on diverse and/or inclusive books for the library’s collection. The other 40% ($200) of each grant must be spent on supporting expenses besides books, such as: supporting materials, display or promotional materials, and/or professional development expenses for your EDI efforts.
  • 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; (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, 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;
  • Computers, iPads and other Electronic Devices are not allowable, including assistive devices to be used by children with non-verbal autism; with the exception of headphones to be used by children with autism to reduce noise (these are allowable and considered equipment.)
  • No more than 60% of funds can be spent on library books as it is not the intent of the grant to primarily fund collection development efforts.
  • Any Integrated Library System or computer software is not allowable. The diversity/inclusion audit activities allowed by the grant only require simple Word, Excel or Google doc software, not complex library management systems.

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, 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 March 1, 2020 or at an earlier date if grant paperwork is submitted earlier than required.

Grantees are required to submit a final grant report by June 1, 2020.

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.

Application is closed

Grant Application

Check back in August 2020 for information on the next grant cycle.

(Public and school libraries may apply)

Application is closed
Interim Report Form

Interim Grant Report

DEADLINE: Due by August 15, 2020
Interim Report Form
Final Report Form

Final Grant Report

REVISED DEADLINE: Due by September 30, 2020
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:

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

Kristina Taylor

Kristina Taylor

Project Coordinator
Email / 208.639.4136
Read my Blogs

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