Awesome Foundation: Innovation in Libraries Chapter

When you are trying to get a new project off the ground, it can be so tricky to figure out how to pay the bills. When we started the ILN we worked very hard to run the program on a tight budget.We used free tools as much as possible and relied heavily on volunteers but there are still expenses – web-hosting, infrastructure, conference fees and so on. Clare, Alyson and I decided very early on that it was important to us that the program was free to participate, a principle we continue to believe in  – but which does raise the obvious question, where will the money come from?

Early on, we applied for an Awesome Foundation grant, these are micro-grants of $1000 to help “forward the interest of awesome in the universe”. There were far fewer Awesome Foundation chapters back then, so we applied to one of the only international chapters that existed – but alas were unsuccessful. We made it work anyway, funding the ILN from our own pockets until we could secure some support.

It has remained an ongoing problem, there are so many great projects out there who could benefit from a little helping hand to pay the bills and enable their innovative ideas to shine. Well, a team of library and information professionals have created a new funding opportunity to help fix this and support awesome library projects achieve their goals.

The Innovation in Libraries Chapter was set up by Chapter Deans Robin Champieux, Joshua Finnell, Stacy Konkiel and Bonnie Tijerina  from Library Pipeline who “who wanted to provide a catalyst for prototyping both technical and non-technical library innovations that embody the principles of diversity, inclusivity, creativity, and risk-taking.” The Deans and the community of trustees band together to provide micro-grants specifically for library-related projects.

I have been very privileged in my career and benefited from the support of the community around me, so when I was invited to become a trustee for the chapter’s pilot program, I decided I should put my money where my mouth. It has been simply wonderful getting to read all of the applications each month which showcase absolutely awesome projects from around the world, check out the winners so far.

Sound awesome to you?  There is a grant round each month with 3 more to go in the pilot – so if you have an innovative project that needs a helping hand, get your application in.

– Kate

ILN Co-Founder

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