Iowa Public Library Grant Award Program

In recognition of the central role occupied by public libraries in the social and intellectual life of Iowa communities, the Carver Trust offers directed support for the establishment, expansion and enhancement of community-based library facilities and services. Grants of up to $80,000 are generally awarded for construction, renovation and/or furnishings and equipment needs, including technology-based initiatives that link libraries across multiple sites. Projects emphasizing library patronage among youth are especially encouraged.

Since 1991, the Trust has awarded over 350 grants, totaling over $12 million, to public libraries throughout the state of Iowa.

Ineligible Requests

The Trust does not provide grants specifically targeted to making libraries handicapped accessible, although the Board certainly recognizes that need. In addition, while we understand that combining library services may be beneficial to a community, as a matter of policy, the Trust does not provide funding for joint school/community library projects or facilities.

Funding Guidelines

In general, 20% of total need, up to a maximum of $80,000, is used as a funding guideline for all public libraries representing state codes A through I. However, each project is evaluated on its own merits, recognizing that, in some cases, such guidelines may not be appropriate. Further, once a facility has successfully secured a grant award from the Carver Trust, no additional applications for funding will be considered for a period of at least five years.

Application Criteria

  1. General guidelines, outlined in the Application Process section of this site, must be followed in the preparation of all proposals.
  2. Requests may be made for general capital needs such as building or renovation projects; equipment needs associated with the installation of new circulation systems and improvements to the technological infrastructure of the new facility; resource-sharing structures involving multiple sites and other related needs.
  3. A minimum of 50% of the total project cost must be secured or pledged before application can be made to the Trust.

Evaluation Criteria

  1. Local investment and volunteer involvement are major factors in project evaluation.
  2. Current and projected usage patterns should be addressed in all funding requests, as well as the various forms of educational programming offered at the site.
  3. Future funding for library activities beyond the timeframe of the proposed grant period should be addressed.
  4. Public library measures of quality and performance, as endorsed by the State Library of Iowa, will be considered in areas of staff certification, long-range planning and a community-wide study.

Consideration of Requests for Funding

The Carver Trust reviews all proposals on a case-by-case basis. Each proposal is evaluated on its own merits, with the understanding that resources and circumstances vary from one community to another. Current funding of library projects is routinely reviewed in light of other grant requests, the availability of funds and the expressed interests of the Board of Trustees, which makes all final funding decisions. Should questions arise prior to the submission of a formal proposal, applicants are encouraged to contact Trust staff.