The Libri Foundation Offering Grants (up to $1,050) to Rural Friends Groups

Many of Minnesota’s most active and dynamic Friends of the Library groups are located in rural areas. This stands to reason. Smaller communities have at their disposal fewer public spaces and free-to-all resources than do their larger counterparts, lending the library a larger public presence. If you are from such a community and represent such a library, The Libri Foundation wants to help you with its popular and generous “Books for Children” grant program.

Since 1990, The Libri Foundation has worked directly with Friends groups to augment the selection of children’s books available to patrons at rural libraries. To date, it has donated over $5.25 million worth of new, hardcover children’s books to 3,000 libraries in all 50 states.

The process is simple. Your group, through a fundraiser or other means, is asked to put up between $50 and $350 for new children’s inventory. The Foundation then matches this sum at a two-to-one basis – capping out at $1,050, if you do the math.

The Foundation maintains a 700-title (and growing) booklist, from which each partnering Friends group picks an assortment of books. The selection is diverse, geared toward: general circulation; toddler, preschool, after-school, and summer reading programs; “book buddy” clubs; school projects; and, teacher curriculum support.

Grant eligibility requirements:

  • Libraries should be in a rural area, have a limited operating budget, and an active children's department. For grant purposes, “rural” is considered to be at least 30 miles from a city with a population over 40,000.
  • Applications are accepted from independent libraries as well as libraries which are part of a county, regional, or cooperative library system. A library system may also apply if all the libraries in the system meet these requirements.
  • Interested county libraries should serve a population under 16,000. Interested town libraries should serve a population under 10,000.
  • Applications are accepted from school libraries only if they also serve 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).
  • Town libraries with total operating budgets over $150,000 and county libraries with total operating budgets over $350,000 are rarely given grants. The average total operating budget of a “Books for Children” grant recipient is less than $40,000.

Click here to learn more and to begin the online application process. Alternatively, to receive a paper application in the mail, please email your name and your library's name and mailing address to The Libri Foundation at

Applications must be submitted or postmarked by Thursday, August 15, 2013.