RAILS Multitype Collaborative Grants

We are offering grants to encourage member libraries of different types (academic, public, school, and special) to work together on collaborative projects.

Each grant project must include at least two different types of libraries.

Participating libraries can choose to try new projects with existing partners or to create new partnerships that benefit their communities. We encourage applicants to think outside the box, and to propose projects that will leverage the strengths of each institution to address a particular need. See past grant recipients.

We will award a limited number of grants ($2500 maximum per grant) and make award determinations based on the availability of funding, the strength of individual applications, and the following priorities:

  • Innovative projects
  • New projects and new partnerships
  • Projects that can be replicated
  • Demonstrated impact to a shared community
  • Sustainability beyond the specific grant program or activity

In addition to these funding priorities, we'll make every effort to award grants to applicants that reflect our diverse membership – supporting projects throughout our entire service area and libraries with differing budgets and diverse communities.

The following are our priority funding areas for FY2018. Other projects will be considered as funding allows.

  • Access to information to unserved and/or underserved Illinois residents
  • Design Thinking
  • Evaluation of Services
  • Expanding Resource Sharing
  • News Literacy
  • Online safety/security/privacy
  • Self-publishing

Application Deadlines

For Fiscal Year 2018, there will be two award periods. The application deadline dates are:

  • Award Period 1: November 17, 2017
  • Award Period 2: April 20, 2018

If you have questions about this grant offering, contact Joe Filapek, Director of Consulting and Continuing Education, at 630-734-5132, joseph.filapek@railslibraries.info or Debbie Baaske, Member Engagement Manager, at 630-734-5152, debbie.baaske@railslibraries.info.

Before completing the grant application, please review the requirements to ensure eligibility.

Grant Conditions

Please review the following requirements to determine the eligibility of your grant request. All conditions must be met to be considered for a multitype collaborative grant:

  • All project partners must be RAILS members and at least two different types of libraries (academic, public, school, and special) must be involved in each project.
  • All grant partners are required to submit a brief letter of support for the project when completing the grant application.
  • The amount requested cannot exceed $2500.
  • Grant recipients must submit a formal grant report within 30 days of the completion of grant activities. (RAILS will send a grant report template to the primary contact after your grant has been accepted)
  • A copy of relevant invoices must be sent with the completed grant report.
  • Any unused funds must be returned to RAILS upon completion of the grant.
  • RAILS will not assist in funding costs associated with items deemed nonessential to the project, including but not limited to food, incentives, gifts, and prizes.
  • RAILS is authorized to promote the projects of all grant recipients through the RAILS website, Facebook, e-news and other sources. Libraries are responsible for providing RAILS with information for publicity purposes.
  • Grant recipients are required to acknowledge RAILS financial support of their grant in any promotional activities.

Past Grant Recipients

June 2017

Project Partners:
Indian Prairie Public Library and Hinsdale South High School - Library Media Center
Project Description:
This partnership will develop virtual reality learning experiences to support formal and informal education in a shared community. Students will have the ability to engage in activities that range from exploring the surface of Mars to visiting college campuses across the country. These new learning experiences have the potential to foster a deeper understanding and greater retention of relevant subjects.

Project Description:
This grant project will support a series of local authors to speak at the Carol Stream Public Library and whose works are available from the Henry S. Olcott Memorial Library. Topics for these author programs include meditation, hospice/living with dying, and symbolism/synchronicity/astrology. An exhibit will also accompany each author event.

Project Partners:
Peoria Public Library and Hines Primary School
Project Description:
This grant will help expand the "Barbers Love Books" program that was piloted in February 2017. The mission of this program is to support Peoria-area barbers in serving as reading mentors to children in Kindergarten through 8th grade. Read press coverage of this pilot program here. Based on positive community feedback and demand to include more locations, grant funding will support expansion of this program to include more locations and more titles.

February 2017

Project Partners:
Illinois Valley Community College(Jacobs Library), and LaSalle Public Library
Project Description:
A partnership that will collaborate on a project called "Noise vs. News. . . . What's Your Source?" The four-event program will focus on topics that concern news and "fake" news, including the First Amendment and its protections, the ethics of journalism, the appeal of "fake" news, "fake" news detection, the importance of critical thinking, the importance of truth and courage in maintaining a democracy.

Project Description:
Focused on STEAM(Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) , librarians from each of the three partner libraries will collaborate to offer monthly activities for students after school and at lunchtime. Project goals include giving students the opportunity to expand their creativity, grow their problem-solving skills, and develop perseverance through tinkering. This will also offer students the capacity to become leaders and teachers among their peers.

Project Partners:
Villa Park Public Library and North Elementary School
Project Description:
Project partners will establish a family literacy program for Latino families in Villa Park, modeled after the Latino Family Literacy Project. The intended result of this program will be to establish family reading routines for both Spanish-speaking and English-speaking parents and their children. As a result, both parents and school age children will learn English vocabulary and language together as a family.

Project Partners:
Caterpillar Technical Information Center, Morton High School Library and Morton Public Library
Project Description:
This collaboration will seek to expose students, parents and the community to STEM(science, technology, engineering and math). Components of this project include the creation of a circulating collection of STEM materials, programming in the school conducted by engineers or other technical staff at Caterpillar, as well as teacher training on programming and related activities.

Project Partners:
Homer Township Public Library and Hadley Middle School
Project Description:
Through the creation of a makerspace, project partners will seek to empower middle school learners and public library patrons to create, engage and build. This collaboration will also bring innovative programming to children ages 8 to 13 that will consist of eight year-round programs at the public library utilizing 3D printing, circuit building and the building of a variety of structures focusing on problem solving skills. These same resources will be utilized in the school library with a new set of criteria centered on 21st Century Learning Standards, including eight curriculum supporting lesson plans.