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Youth Grants for Excellence - 2024

The Nebraska Library Commission has made funding available specifically for innovative projects for children and young adults in accredited public libraries and state-run institutional libraries in Nebraska, through a competitive grant process.

To learn more about the upcoming 2024 grants, watch the recording of the September 20 NCompass Live webinar, NLC Grants for 2024.


The program is designed to encourage creative thinking, risk-taking and new approaches to address problems and needs of children and young adults in your community. Grant awards enable youth librarians to begin needed programs and try projects which they have been unable to undertake. The grants also offer an opportunity to expand youth service capabilities in new and different directions. It is also expected that the funding will provide a foundation for ongoing rather than one-time services, which can be continued with community support or through a reallocation of library funds.


Any children's librarian, young adult librarian, or adult librarian in charge of children's or young adult services in:

Other organizations can partner with an eligible entity for purposes of submitting a grant application for a collaborative project. Schools, service agencies, and/or organizations may be involved through collaborative planning and programming, thus receiving benefit from this project.


Online applications will open on September 15, 2023 and be accepted through 11:59 PM (CT) on November 17, 2023.

The print support materials (e.g., catalog page or computer printout displaying item intended for purchase, list of books and/or materials for purchase, estimates from suppliers, letters from project partners, etc.) may be submitted during the week following the due date.

Recipients will be announced by December 31, 2023.

Purchases made after September 15, 2023 are eligible for reimbursement.

The final completion report must be submitted no later than September 20, 2024.


What is required in a Youth Grants for Excellence application?

  • A brief statement of the need for the project: Why did you decide to do this project? The project noted on the application must be based on specific, identified needs of children or young adults in your community.
  • Details about what you plan to do and how.The project described must represent a new effort or an entirely different approach to an existing need or program. Materials acquisitions are not allowed unless they are critical to the success of the project, and must be part of one or more programs for the target audience as a part of the overall grant project.
  • Each grant project must have at least one program (an event designed for the project, attended by youth, and usually held in the library) for the youth of your community to attend. It can be a special program or simply an Open House to give community members a chance to see or try out the new items that you have purchased.
  • Information about how you will determine the success of the project.The applications should include both output and outcome measures by which you will evaluate the success of the project. Output measures are quantitative and include statistics such as number of youth attending programs, books circulated, number of programs held, etc. Outcomes are related to the question of whether or not your effort made a difference and if so, what that difference was. Outcome measures might include changes in attitude or behavior; documentation of knowledge acquired, etc. Some evaluation tools you may choose to use include surveys, interviews, and focus groups.
  • A detailed timeline noting planned dates of significant steps in the implementation of the project is included in the application. Please be precise and include details.

What kind of projects will be eligible for the Youth Grants for Excellence?

You may apply for a grant in an area that will benefit children and/or teens and which you see as a need in your community, for example (but not limited to), projects for youth (preschool, elementary school age, or teen) that will:

  • Encourage reading
  • Early Childhood Reading Programs
  • Concentrate on boys and reading
  • Celebrate reading and books
  • Encourage creativity
  • Develop character
  • Encourage and celebrate other materials or opportunities for youth at your library
  • Encourage library use by children and/or teens for whom English is a learned language
  • Assist library personnel in their ability to meet the service needs of children and/or teens in their community.

Exemplary Sample Applications from past Youth Grants for Excellence

Tips for writing a successful grant application


Applicants are encouraged to apply for the amount required to implement their ideas successfully.

Grants require at least a local match of twenty-five percent (25%) of the total project amount. At least 10% must be a cash match. The remaining 15% of the local match can be in-kind costs and/or additional cash.

For in-kind costs, if an applicant is going to use staffing resources as part of the local match, the staffing resources must be dedicated to the project. Other in-kind costs such as the printing of brochures for an event could also count toward the 15% local match.

The 10% cash match, or the entire 25% matching funds, can also be contributed by the local library's friends group, foundation, a local donor, or any other source outside the library.

Use the Project Budget Form at the end of the application form to estimate the amount you will need and to itemize specific expenses. You are advised to be as precise and detailed as possible.


  • The purchase of furniture or food or beverages.
  • Payment of salary or wages for pemanent library staff.
  • General collection development, rather than focusing on purchases for a partidcular program or goal.
  • AWE workstations, or similar stations from other companies.
  • In general, the purchase of computer equipment is not allowed. This means that computer equipment or technology that is going to be used for circulation, general Internet access, etc. as part of the library's regular services would not be considered. However, computer equipment and/or technology which is necessary for specific youth programs or services and without which such programs or services would not be possible, will be considered.


All grant recipients are required to acknowledge the State of Nebraska and the Nebraska Library Commission when undertaking and promoting grant-supported activities. Any announcements, public relations pieces, or other communication about the project must use the following statement: "This program is sponsored by the Nebraska Library Commission and funded in part with state funds allocated through the Nebraska Legislature."

This project was supported in part by the United States Institute of Museum and Library Services, under the provision of the Library Services and Technology Act, and/or state funding appropriated by the Nebraska legislature, granted and administered by the Nebraska Library Commission.


Youth Grant for Excellence 2024 Application - opened on September 15, 2023. Deadline to submit: November 17, 2023.

Youth Grant for Excellence 2024 Completion Report - due September 20, 2024.

Youth Grant for Excellence 2023 Completion Report - due September 21, 2023.

Youth Grant for Excellence 2023 Request for payment form (PDF)


For questions, contact Sally Snyder, Coordinator of Children and Young Adult Library Services.

Grant Recipients Database - includes Children's Grants for Excellence 1998-2003 and Youth Grants for Excellence 2004- .

For more information, contact Sally Snyder.