New Initiatives Grant

CLRC’s New Initiatives Grant seeks to help you do something exciting and new in your library!

Have a project you want to pilot? Thinking of an innovative program or service you’d like to offer? Our goal is to help you break down barriersimagine the impossible, and foster your creativity. We’re looking for ideas that seek new ways to tackle problems, face challenges, or fulfill needs in libraries

Check out the eligibility criteria, other requirements below, and previous winners below. We encourage you to run ideas by CLRC staff prior to submission. Have more questions? Contact Marc Wildman at

Your New Initiatives Grant proposal will be stronger if your project meets one or more of these criteria:

  • Can be replicated by others
  • Encourages non-library partners
  • Encourages risk-taking and experimentation
  • Takes practices/ideas from other industries and applies them to libraries
  • Not funded through traditional means


  • Any library (including individual school and public libraries) or library system that is a member of CLRC is eligible. View our member directory here.
  • The library/library system applying for the grant must not have received the New Initiatives Grant from CLRC within the past calendar year.


Grants will be awarded in amounts no less than $300 and no more than $2,000, as funds allow.


2018 deadlines for proposals are quarterly as follows:

  • Saturday, March 31
  • Saturday, June 30
  • Sunday, September 30
  • Monday, December 31

Proposals will be reviewed and decisions on funding will be made by an external review panel within 30 days of the deadline.


One year from date of receipt of funds. Extensions may be given if a progress report and reason for the extension is explained in advance of the one-year deadline.


None required.


View the CLRC New Initiatives Grant application form here.


Funded projects must complete a final report and may be asked to present a talk and/or poster at CLRC’s Annual Meeting, following the completion of the project.


Susan LeBlanc, Madison-Oneida BOCES

From School to Public – Providing a Bridge for Student & Family Use of Public Libraries

In partnership with the Mid-York Libary System school librarians will become STEAM leaders in public libraries during the summer months as well as share their knowledge with public librarians.

Jake Hare, Liverpool Public Library

Virtual Traveling

Liverpool Public Library will integrate a virtual reality kit into their existing programs such as the Armchair Traveler. Travelers can “visit” the place they read and study about. Additional programs will include multi-generational opportunities for grandparents and grandchildren to enjoy VR games together.

Karen Fenner, Westhill High School

Expeditions for Everyone

Google Expeditions kits will provide students with virtual trips that can pair with teacher curriculum. In partnership with Onondaga Free Public Library, kits will be available for programming and activities during the summer months or for special events during the school year.

Nicole Hershberger, Northern Onondaga Public Library at Cicero

Community Playdate: An Anji Play-based Outreach Pilot

Based on the practices and philosophy of “Anji Play,” this partnership with the Town of Clay Department of Recreation will provide opportunities for children to experience self-determined, free, and open-ended play. Libraries provide information to parents about how to read, sing, talk, and the means for play but not the modeling. This pilot will test this Anji Play approach in a library sponsored community based setting.

Doreen Bergman, OCM BOCES

Celebrating Diverse Readers!

To meet the needs of a growing English as New Language population the grant will help create a dual language library. Mini-collections of these picture books will be shared with students and their parents throughout the region.

Joshua Finnell, Colgate University

Data Analysis & Collaboration Network

This project aims to create a consortium of “isolated statisticians and data librarians” across the State of New York for faculty and students at smaller universities and colleges.

April Bliss, Dunham Public Library

Stop Motion Publicity Videos

Library teens will create videos to express their appreciation for the library providing a safe place and supportive staff so they can continue to learn and grow by exploring innovative technologies.

*The inspiration for this grant is RRLC’s BreakThru Grant.