The Libri Foundation based in Eugene, Oregon is a nationwide non-profit organization which donates new quality hardcover children's books to small rural public libraries throughout the United States. Over $4,600,000 worth of new children's books has been donated by the Foundation to more than 3,000 libraries in 49 states, including Alaska and Hawaii, since October 1990.
In order to encourage and reward local support of libraries, The Libri Foundation will match any amount of money raised by local sponsors from $50 up to $350 on a 2-to-1 ratio, enabling a library to receive up to $1,050 worth of new children's books. Once a library receives a grant, local sponsors such as Friends groups or local civic and social organizations have four months (or longer if necessary) to raise their matching funds.
Participating libraries are required to select books from a bibliography provided by the Foundation. The booklist includes 700-plus fiction and non-fiction titles published during the preceding three years reflecting the best of children’s literature for children ages 12 and under. Recommended titles have received awards or starred reviews and include a selection of children’s classics.
Libraries are qualified on an individual basis with preference given to those with an active children’s department and limited operating budget serving a rural area. Rural is generally defined to be at least 30 miles from a city with a population over 40,000. Guidelines indicate county libraries should serve a population under 16,000 and town libraries should serve a population under 10,000 (usually under 5,000). Town libraries with total operating budgets over $150,000 and county libraries with total operating budgets over $350,000 are rarely given grants.
Applications are accepted from independent libraries as well as those which are part of a county, regional, or cooperative library system. A school library may apply only if it also serves as the public library (i.e. it is open to everyone in the community, has some summer hours, and there is no public library in town). Branch libraries serving rural areas are qualified on the basis of the parent institution’s total operating budget.
Application deadlines for 2011 must be postmarked by January 23rd, and April 15th. Grants are awarded January 31st and April 30th. Libraries targeting grant funds for purchase of additional materials for summer reading programs are encouraged to apply for a January grant since April grant recipients may not receive their books until after most summer reading programs begin.
Application guidelines and forms may be downloaded from the Foundation's website at http://www.librifoundation.org/