RAILS Partnership Grants

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These grants will change beginning in July 2019 to focus on projects that help a library or libraries to tell their story and promote their value. Details will be available soon.


RAILS is offering grants to encourage RAILS members to pursue partnerships featuring creative solutions that address community needs and further RAILS goals and strategic initiatives.

We encourage RAILS members to think outside the box and propose projects that will leverage the strengths of each project partner. Libraries should identify a need and seek a unique solution.


At least one project partner must be a RAILS member. All types (academic, public, school, and special) of RAILS member libraries are eligible. The RAILS member library must be the fiscal agent for the grant application.

RAILS members are encouraged to collaborate with other libraries, businesses, nonprofits, and/or government agencies. A letter of support from stakeholders (i.e. presidents, executive directors, board members, principals) from each of these partners will demonstrate the authorization for any project. 

RAILS makes every effort to award grants to applicants that reflect our diverse membership. The priority for our FY2019 funding will be based off of the RAILS 2018-2022 Strategic Plan, which indicates goals for the system (listed below). Please indicate which goal you believe best reflects the goals of your project:

  • Goal 1 - Promote, support, and expand resource sharing to optimize use of tax dollars and help libraries share resources to the fullest extent possible.
  • Goal 2 - Work with libraries of all types to tell the library story.
  • Goal 3 - Help libraries be the best they can be.
  • Goal 4 - Prepare libraries for the future.

*RAILS Strategic Plan Goals are subject to change; the official goals will be approved by the RAILS Board of Directors at the Friday, September 28, 2018 board meeting


Individual awards are limited to $5,000. We will fund up to $25,000 in total awards for the entire financial year.

Application Deadlines

For FY2019, there will be two award periods. The application deadline dates are:

  • Award Period 1: Friday, November 16, 2018
  • Award Period 2: Friday, April 19, 2019

If you have questions about this grant offering, contact Dan Bostrom, Member Engagement Manager, at 630.734.5152.

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

Grant Conditions

All conditions must be met to be considered for this award:

  • At least one project partner must be a RAILS member library; the RAILS member must also be the fiscal agent for the grant application; the fiscal agent will receive the check for any awarded funds
  • 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 $5,000.
  • Grant recipients must submit a formal grant report within 30 days of the completion of grant activities. RAILS will provide a template to the primary contact after the grant has been accepted. This report will include an evaluation of impact and sustainability plan. 
  • 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 non-essential 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, social media, 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. 
  • Grant recipients must commit to making project products or outputs available for reuse under a Creative Commons license or otherwise freely available.
  • Grant recipients are required to participate in RAILS Member Update at an available RAILS videoconference location to give a brief overview of their project.