Darlene Kilpatrick works in a food desert, but her town of Red Feather Lakes, Colorado, is an oasis as far as community support is concerned.
Kilpatrick heads programming and user services at the library in her community of 343 people in the north-central part of the state. Despite Red Feather Lakes’ small size and its relative isolation from conveniences like major supermarkets, she corralled support from her school district, a local chef, a nearby farmer and the county government to address nutrition-information needs among the residents she serves. She also got help from the National Network of Libraries of Medicine.
NNLM’s MidContinental Region provided a $2,500 award that funded cooking demonstrations, discussions with kids about the digestive system, classes on nutrition, and a program for parents on emotional well-being. Although federal rules required money for food to come from other sources, NNLM supported the informational component that enabled several library programs.
“We’re making the community stronger,” Kilpatrick said recently. “By using our local resources, that can continue to happen.”
NNLM is offering a new set of funding opportunities for library staff interested in partnering with their communities to spur learning and activities focused on health issues, or in developing their professional skills around health information. Two rounds of awards are expected within the region, with the first set available in May. A second round will be announced in the summer.
Kilpatrick, whose library has taken advantage of multiple awards from the MidContinental Region, secured her latest funding by first contacting the NNLM coordinator for her state, Dana Abbey at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus in Denver. Abbey guided her through the grant-writing paperwork and procedures.
“Dana made it so easy,” Kilpatrick said. “She’s so capable in trying to work with what we have. We are so isolated in the mountain community. I knew she would make it as easy as possible.”
Some 17 award types are available starting in May in sizes large and small for programming, community engagement, and staff professional development. Contact information for coordinators in the region as well as for the NNLM All of Us Community Engagement Network can be found here.
The type of award you should seek depends primarily on your goal. Here is a rundown of some of the more common objectives and the awards that can help you accomplish them:
Collaborate with another organization on a library program or a project
Three awards provide support for libraries that team with other organizations. The Community-Based Organization Engagement Subaward offers up to $2,500 for work with local organizations. The K-12 School Partnership General Subaward connects libraries to partners in K-12 schools like the school media center, school nurse or a health/science teacher for projects up to $2,500. NNLM MCR also offers a specialized K-12 subaward focusing on substance misuse, also for a project up to $2,500. In addition, many awards – such as the All of Us large and small programming awards – recognize the importance of partnerships in their funding decisions.
Conduct a public library program or series of programs
NNLM also offers two types of programming subawards for public libraries. The Public Library Programming Subaward offers up to $2,500 for library projects that increase the awareness of and education on health topics within a community. The project should incorporate relevant NLM and/or NNLM health information resources like MedlinePlus. The All of Us Community Engagement Network offers an award up to $5,000 for similar projects, with an emphasis on projects geared toward underserved communities.
Examples of projects that could qualify for these awards include programs for chronic illness management, a health fair, healthy lifestyles, a cooking class, or mind/body programming such as yoga or meditation.
Secure an opportunity for professional development
NNLM MCR offers six subawards for various professional development projects. They include the following:
Create citizen science programs at your library
Citizen science aims to get the everyday citizen, including your public library patron, involved in real-world scientific research through techniques such as crowdsourcing. The Librarian’s Guide to Citizen Science outlines in detail how you can get your library in on this trend.
The Citizen Scientist Support Subaward funds projects such as one monitoring water quality in the community. The K-12 Partnership Project: Citizen Science and NLM Resources Subaward does much the same, only in a school setting and with National Library of Medicine resources included as part of the project. The award is for up to $1,000.
Maybe you are looking for a way to upgrade a piece of technology to ensure access to high-quality health information or to apply specialized tools to your community-engagement efforts. Funds of up to $2,000 are available through four Technology Improvement Subaward and up to $5,000 is available through one Library Engagement Technology Subaward.
Want to be a catalyst for change? Two Diverse Populations and Program Inclusion Subawards will fund up to $2,500 to support partnerships with community-based organizations that are addressing diversity and inclusion.
Execute a large-scale strategy for public library programs or projects
If you are based in one of six geographical areas on which the All of Us Community Engagement Network is focusing, you may be able to apply for an All of Us Outreach Library Programming Large Subaward of up to $80,000 this summer. These subawards can be used to fund creative ways of addressing community needs surrounding health information, such as hiring a part-time health education worker to support library staff.
The large subawards are currently open only to libraries in the metropolitan areas of Kansas City, Omaha, Wichita and Denver, and in the states of Utah and Wyoming. We suggest you contact MCR All of Us Coordinator George Strawley at firstname.lastname@example.org or your state NNLM coordinator to discuss your idea well before applying. Among other things, the application should demonstrate that the project includes the community and is responsive to community needs.