Category Archives: Library

7 Keys to Grant Writing

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Over lunch at Olde Mecklenburg Brewery, Metrolina Library Association members recently learned from Raye Oldham, Federal Programs Consultant with the State Library of North Carolina, about how to effectively write grants. In fact, she gave us 7 keys to successfully unlock the doors to being awarded a grant. The State Library of North Carolina awards Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) grants to eligible North Carolina libraries. These grants are federal funds from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. However, her “keys” are applicable to anyone applying for a grant.

key Be On the Same Page as Your Funder

  • The State Library wants to say “yes.” They have to distribute all of their funds each year so they want applicants to be successful and get those funds.
  • Oldham pointed out that the focus of the grant proposal should be on the needs of the users and future users, not on what the library needs. That focus should be clear in the writing of the application. For example, state that “our users need…” rather than “we need” or “our library needs.” The grant is not about the library. How will that new technology help your users?
  • In addition, the State Library wants to evenly distribute the money. For example, if Charlotte Mecklenburg Library submits 3 applications and two other county library systems submit one application each, Charlotte Mecklenburg Library may have only one application approved so that the other library systems can also get some funding. They also look to distribute funding across different types of libraries: public, academic, community college, etc.

key Know Where to Find Information

Become familiar with the funder’s webpages by digging into the links, understanding the different programs, checking for the most current information, and looking for timelines.

For example, the 2017-2018 LSTA Grant Programs timeline starts with the application deadline on February 24, 2017. Libraries will find out if they are funded in May or Early June and projects start July 1.

key Review Previous Awards

Most funders post what they have awarded in the past. Applicants should look for this information for three reasons:

  • Check to see if what you want to do aligns with what they want to fund. Funders may want new ideas but looking at these awards will still give you a sense of heading in the right direction.
  • If you see what someone else has done, you can contact them to find out additional information and get ideas.
  • If your library is interested in doing something new, you can see other projects and get ideas.

In 2016-2017 the State Library funded seven projects about literacy: information literacy, adult literacy, and children’s literacy.  A lot of projects included partnerships. For example, a college library partnered with the early college department, a career center, or a disability advocacy group to further integrate with the community.

key Data Is Your Friend

Funders are usually not looking for intensive, analytical data but adding numbers to your application will help you be more successful. Statements like the following: “frequently students will ask for x” cause the reviewer to wonder what that frequently might mean: 3 times a day or 3 times a month. A better statement would be: “3 out of 10 times, there are not enough laptops for students to do their own work.” Specifics in context will be helpful in getting your application approved.

key Make It Easy

You want reviewers to easily understand your proposal and clearly see the obstacles facing your users. Sometimes the reviewers see applications with a goal statement, a target audience, a budget, and an evaluation but none of the pieces go together. Your application has to be clear and understandable.

Many funding applications include questions with identifiers under each question like parts (a), (b), and (c). Use these to organize your application or response. Addressing each part specifically will help the reviewer see that you have responded to each of those items. If something does not apply, just indicate N/A but be sure to use the identifier.

key Schedule Time

A lot of people think the real work starts with completing the application but actually the real work starts when you get funded. Blocking off time on your calendar like an appointment will help with the review process, with keeping implementation deadlines from passing, and with completing the final report. In a similar way, many applications require signatures in different sections. Plan ahead and leave yourself some cushion in case someone is unavailable.

key Ask!

The State Library is happy to help answer questions or brainstorm ideas. Asking questions makes you look like a stronger applicant. Asking questions shows you are making an effort to have the best application possible. The State Library also will review a draft if submitted at least two weeks before the due date.

SUCCESS!

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For further information: The State Library of North Carolina’s 2017-2018 LSTA Annual Program Plan.

Any questions, please contact Raye Oldham at:

Raye Oldham
Federal Programs Consultant
State Library of North Carolina
North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources
919-807-7423
Raye.oldham@ncdcr.gov

Thanks to Raye Oldham for an excellent program!

~Betty Thomas~

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Links We Love Weekly Round-Up — January 2, 2017

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Tunisians Are Being Encouraged to Read by Turning Taxis into Libraries

Most of the yellow cabs racing through Tunis are decorated with air fresheners, glittery pendulums, and framed baby pictures. Sometimes you’ll find a complimentary box of tissues. But taxi driver Ahmed Mzoughi, 49, has taken a more cerebral approach to his vehicle’s decor. Scattered on the seats and lining the dashboard are slim volumes of poetry, fat novels, and psychology books. Stuck on a side door is a decal that says, “Attention: This Taxi Contains a Book.”

What does diversity mean in the age of a Donald Trump presidency? Even as the U.S. and the globe become increasingly diverse, the president-elect’s cabinet appointments have so far been strong on billionaires and white men and weak on women and blacks.

On the Differences between Cats and Dogs

A letter to my writing students on why they have more freedom to create than they seem to think

The Teen-Agers Suing Over Climate Change

In the spring of 2010, Julia Olson, an environmental attorney based in Oregon, was introduced to Alec Loorz, a teen-ager from Ventura, California, and the founder of an advocacy group called Kids vs. Global Warming. At the time, Olson, who ran the nonprofit Our Children’s Trust, was preparing to sue the federal government over its insufficient action on climate change, and she hoped to coördinate youth demonstrations and other events with the filing of the lawsuit.

 Interactive Constitution

On this site, constitutional experts interact with each other to explore the Constitution’s history and what it means today. For each provision of the Constitution, scholars of different perspectives discuss what they agree upon, and what they disagree about. These experts were selected with the guidance of leaders of two prominent constitutional law organizations—The American Constitution Society and The Federalist Society. This project is sponsored by a generous grant from the John Templeton Foundation.

10 Steps to Writing a Great Law School Final Paper

The final paper has become a common law school evaluation method. Here are 10 steps to writing a great law school paper.

Useful Law Apps for Students

The study of law is not easy as from the beginning of the first year of law, you are expected to absorb mountain of information every single day and this means late night study sessions and virtuosic organization skills. There are some students who are fine with the hard copies of dictionaries, legislation as well as personal organizers, but the convenience of law apps are unbeatable.

Using Microsoft Word Styles

Let’s face it: legal writing is already hard work. So who has time to tinker with stuff like fonts in the name of enhancing legal document readability? With the Microsoft Word Styles feature, consistent formatting becomes a whole lot easier and faster, and can help enforce standards in your firm’s outgoing documents.

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Happy New Year from the Charlotte Law Library

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The Importance of Legal Research Skills

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Early in November, LexisNexis released a paper summarizing their survey of summer associates conducted last July. Summer Associates Identify Writing and Legal Research Skills Required on the Job reported on the responses of 330 summer associates working in large U.S. law firms (with over 50 attorneys).

The findings that I found most interesting were the following:

  • Close to half reported spending between 50 to 100% of their time conducting legal research.

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  • 86% of hiring partners believe legal research skills are highly important.
  • Summer associates used state and federal case law (97.3%) and state and federal statutes (87%) the most. Treatises were the most used secondary source.
  • When asked what additional research skills they would like to know, the summer associates chose regulatory research (33.9%), secondary sources (27.3%), and verdicts, briefs, and dockets (24.8%) as the top three topics.
  • Between 20 and 30% of summer associates would like more drafting instruction on contracts (29.7%), memo writing (28.8%), pleadings and motions (22.7%), and briefs (21.5%).

While this is just one study conducted by LexisNexis, it does give some information about the importance of legal research in the work done by summer associates.

~Betty Thomas~

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What I am Reading: The Education of Kevin Powell

kevin_powell

Have you read All Over but the Shoutin’ by Rick Bragg? It is an autobiography about growing up dirt poor in northeastern Alabama. The Education of Kevin Powell: A Boy’s Journey into Manhood is Kevin Powell’s autobiography about growing up dirt poor in the ghetto in Jersey City.  Both men were raised by single mothers. Both men experienced violence in their childhoods. Both men went on to become successful writers: Bragg won a Pulitzer Prize for his writing for The New York Times; Powell’s writings have appeared in The Washington Post, Newsweek, Essence, Ebony, Rolling Stone, and Vibe.

Powell’s journey was not a straight path. While he excelled in school and was able to go to Rutgers University, his suppressed anger sabotaged his own success several times along the way. His book includes chapters from his life about appearing on MTV’s The Real World, writing for Vibe magazine, running unsuccessfully for Congress, and journeying to Africa.  In an interview about his book, Powell said that his memoir has been inside him for years. He also said that while he did not target his book to young adults, he does hope that young people might avoid some of the mistakes that he made growing up. His memoir is an honest, transparent account of his life, the successes and the failures. He works as an activist, writer, and public speaker focusing on civil and human rights. He works through his organization, BK Nation, to organize peaceful protests. He ultimately works to move humanity towards freedom, justice, equality, and peace.

kevin_powell2

This book is his story.

Follow-up:  Kevin Powell discusses black masculinity in popular culture with bell hooks of The New School at https://youtu.be/FoXNzyK70Bk. The conversation begins at 13:13.

The Education of Kevin Powell is available for checkout from the Charlotte Law Library. For a few weeks, it will be located with the New Books in the East Reading Room on the 5th floor and then located here.

~Betty Thomas~

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