Writing grant applications is both an art and a science, and learning how to outline projects clearly and concisely within an application template can be a major undertaking. These books demystify the grant writing process and provide tips for library workers seeking support for their next big idea.
The Grant Writing Guide: A Road Map for Scholars
By Betty S. Lai
This is one of those books that accomplishes everything it promises. Divided into manageable tasks, the chapters provide practical advice, sample templates, and guided exercises to help applicants articulate their projects. Lai demystifies the grant writing process while thoughtfully reflecting on its barriers and inequalities, providing reassurances about feelings of impostor syndrome and other forms of deficit thinking. Princeton University Press, 2023. 240 p. $22.95. PBK. 978-0-6912-3188-4.
Design for Belonging: How to Build Inclusion and Collaboration in Your Communities
By Susie Wise
Rather than provide a deep dive into the process of grant writing, Design for Belonging considers the role belonging plays in building sustainable collaborations. Wise defines this as the need for individuals to feel accepted and welcomed to foster meaningful participation. Drawing on strategies from noted scholars, artists, and activists like bell hooks, Boots Riley, and Victor Cary, her illustrated guide presents inclusive approaches to a wide range of topics, from sending event invitations to improving community participation. This is a valuable read for anyone interested in programming, outreach, and public services. For grant writers in particular, its strategies for creating a belonging mindset are invaluable for equitable project design. Ten Speed Press, 2022. 160 p. $15.99. PBK. 978-1-9848-5803-0. (Also available as an ebook.)
Go Get That Grant! A Practical Guide for Libraries and Nonprofit Organizations, 2nd edition
By Gail M. Staines
While the main audience for Lai’s Grant Writing Guide is academic researchers, Go Get That Grant! is geared specifically toward library workers and provides practical, timeless advice relevant to a wide range of library and nonprofit contexts. A master at breaking down grant budgets—which can require a great deal of math (and headaches)—Staines walks readers through the calculations, proving that building a budget can be relatively painless. Rowman & Littlefield, 2016, 132 p. $59. PBK. 978-1-4422-7027-5.
Social Justice Design and Implementation in Library and Information Science
Edited by Bharat Mehra
One often overlooked strategy for grant writing is learning from models. Mehra’s volume outlines recent projects and initiatives, many of which are deeply informed by commitments to equity and diversity. Organized into five parts that explore emergent topics, sample cases, research strategies, library and information curriculum, and implementation processes, the chapters provide inspiration and techniques for designing socially just projects. Examples include incorporating social justice into library education programs, pedagogical uses of comapping, and providing Narcan training for staffers. Given the breadth of topics and projects covered in the volume, readers should be able to find a chapter that speaks to their particular interests or project types. Routledge, 2022. 332 p. $39.16. PBK. 978-0-3676-5382-8. (Also available as an ebook.)
Going Green: Implementing Sustainable Strategies in Libraries around the World
Edited by Petra Hauke, Madeleine Charney, and Harri Sahavirta
Going Green offers a much-needed comparative and international perspective on sustainability at libraries. This International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions publication focuses on sustainable practices and strategies that can provide inspiration for current grant writers. Chapter topics include fighting misinformation, centering sustainability in strategic plans, and the library’s role in combating climate change. While this title will be especially helpful for grant writers working on projects related to sustainability, it is worthwhile for any grant type, as sustainable and climate-conscious project design is a collective and evolving endeavor. De Gruyter, 2018. 244 p. $114.99. 978-3-1106-0584-6. (Also available as an ebook.)
Living in Data: A Citizen’s Guide to a Better Information Future
By Jer Thorp
At first glance, a guide to data ethics might seem out of place in a list of recommendations for grant writing. However, as the Library of Congress’s 2017 and 2018 Innovator In Residence Jer Thorp shows, data permeates our everyday lives and can affect the lived experience of communities. If library workers’ project plans require them to work with data, an understanding of data ethics is essential. This book addresses strategies for community-engaged data practices that go beyond Institutional Review Board training. Even if your grant project does not involve data collection, you should read this book to discover how to move from being the object of passive data extraction to the subject of active citizenship. Macmillan, 2021. 320 p. $18. PBK. 978-1-2508-4915-1. (Also available as an ebook.)