The Neal-Schuman Foundation is giving its last and largest grant to United for Libraries (UFL), formerly known as ALTAFF. The Foundation is giving $75,000 to support UFL’s ‘Citizens-Save-Libraries’ initiative. “This is the largest grant in the foundation’s history, and it is our final one. We will disband at the end of this year,” said Patricia Glass Schuman. “Given the needs libraries face right now, the board decided to donate all of its funds this year.”
The program will send expert advocates to 20 locations over the course of two years to help friends of the library groups, library directors, and trustees develop individual blueprints for advocacy campaigns to restore, increase, or save threatened library budgets. Libraries can apply beginning in January 2013, and the first 10 libraries will be selected in April.
“Not only will the 20 libraries chosen benefit from the efforts of trained, savvy and articulate supporters, the resources developed will help advocates in communities across the country speak out loudly, proudly and effectively,” said Schuman.
To make sure the grants’ benefits reach beyond the selected libraries, one of the things applicants will be judged on is their willingness to share what they’ve learned. Meanwhile, a free “power guide” will be developed, laying out a step-by-step blueprint for libraries to follow in generating their own campaigns. United for Libraries will hold train-the-trainer workshops using the guide at Midwinter Meetings in 2014 and 2015.
The move comes at a time of increasing support for local library funding efforts on the national level; library PAC EveryLibrary was recent launched to help advocate for ballot questions and local library funding.
The Foundation was established in 2000 by Neal-Schuman Publishers‘ founders Patricia Glass Schuman and John Vincent Neal to aid and promote charitable research and education for the improvement of libraries. ALA acquired Neal-Schuman Publishers in December 2011.
United for Libraries Executive Director Sally Gardner Reed said in a statement, “Pat Schuman has left a tremendous legacy for library advocacy over the course of her career. I’m proud to have the Neal-Schuman name and generous resources attached to our efforts to provide support for communities fighting for their libraries.”