MLA Access and Innovation Fund

The MLA Access and Innovation Fund (administered by the Access and Innovation Fund Committee)

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Note that for the 2022-2023 application period, deadlines have been adjusted as follows:
The grant proposal deadline is December 15, 2022, and the committee makes all award decisions by January 15, 2023. Funding is distributed between February 1-28, 2023

The Missouri Library Association (MLA) is the recipient of an anonymous, donor directed gift of funds “to be used for the limited purpose of promoting library services related to computer/internet access services to library patrons.” MLA has developed guidelines for the use of these funds in keeping with the donor’s intent. It is our hope and expectation that these funds will assist a number of libraries around the state achieve improved and innovative patron services. With proper oversight, the fund should grow over time to provide even greater levels of assistance.

    1. Purpose of the fund
      To enhance, support, and develop library technologies and innovation that improve patrons’ access to library services.
    2. Scope of the grants
      This financial support is broadly interpreted to cover a range of possibilities relating to the purpose of the fund including, but not limited to: hardware, technological equipment, computers, devices, associated and peripheral technologies, bandwidth, wifi, hot spots, software, databases, Ecard programs, Erate funds for underserved or economically disadvantaged areas, training for implementation and use of technologies, marketing of technology focused library services, or furniture and renovation that improves patron access to service. The Grant Committee is particularly interested in funding projects or programs that have the potential to make a significant difference to the community served or that are innovative. 
    3. Eligibility
      All libraries in Missouri are eligible to apply. Committees and Communities of Interest in good standing within the Missouri Library Association are also eligible to apply. Individual applications not supported by a Missouri Library or an MLA Committee/Community of Interest will not be accepted. Preference is given to institutional members, and to a lesser extent individual members of the Missouri Library Association. Libraries that have not previously received a grant will be given priority consideration. We utilize the Missouri State Library’s LSTA grant eligible library definition for the purpose of this grant program. 
    4. Size of the grants
      The grant committee endeavors to award multiple grants to multiple libraries. The size of grant awards is expected to be between $500 and $2500, but proposals are accepted for any amount up to $5000. 
    5. Terms
      1. All grants are for one-time funding. 
      2. Grants may be used for projects incurring ongoing costs, however, this grant program will fund only one proposal for any given project, purchase or expense. While applicants may apply for a grant in other grant cycles, the proposal must be for a different purpose. Thus, applicants should consider the sustainability of their project in the development of their proposal. 
      3. Grant recipients are expected to expend the majority of funds within one year; all funds must be expended within two years of the initial grant date.
      4. Grants may be coordinated with LSTA grants. 
      5. Grant applicants need not exhaust all other sources of funding in order to apply.
      6. Ongoing institutional administrative and overhead charges are not eligible for funding through this program.
    6. Requirements
      Grantees are required to submit a one page, written report within two years of the initial grant. This report must address the outcomes and impact of their grant, and include a brief outline of actual expenditures. Reports will be added to the MLA Archives and shared broadly with MLA membership. Also, grantees are encouraged to share their experiences in public ways for the benefit of the library community through a conference presentation, publication such as MOInfo, conference table talk, or other venue.
      Publications and presentations resulting from projects funded by an Access and Innovation Fund grant must recognize Missouri Library Association funding. MLA will provide recipients with a high resolution MLA logo and statement to be used for acknowledgement of the MLA funding award. Recipients are to provide MLA with links to any published reports or presentation files available on the web.
    7. Timeline
      The grant proposal deadline is September 1 annually, and the committee makes all award decisions by the Annual Conference Board Meeting. Funding is distributed between January 1 and 31 of the following year. The review process is designed to complement the LSTA grant cycle so applicants may maximize the benefits of their grants. The committee will consider grant requests for emergency needs that do not align with the grant cycle.