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Oregon Ready to Read Grants

Help for applying and managing Ready to Read grant funds through the State Library of Oregon.

About Ready to Read Grants

About the Ready to Read Grants Program


The State Library of Oregon works to improve library service for all Oregonians through their local public libraries. As state-funded non-competitive grants, Ready to Read funds are an essential part of this mission. Grants are distributed annually to all legally established public libraries who apply for and report on their yearly grant spending. In the late 1970’s state funding was initially allocated to support libraries serving preschool aged children. This has changed over time to include an expanded focus on summer reading projects. The Oregon Revised Statutes governing the Ready to Read grant program can be found in 357.740-357.780.


Ready to Read grants help communities support our youngest Oregonians using the below early literacy and summer reading outcomes every year to direct their work. Outcomes are broad enough to allow all libraries, regardless of size and location, to address a meaningful early literacy and/or summer reading community need. Libraries choose annually which outcomes they will work towards in their communities.


Early Literacy Outcome #1: Young children develop the 6 early literacy skills by the time they start kindergarten.
Early Literacy Outcome #2: Adults enjoy reading, singing, talking, writing, and playing with their young children regularly to help them develop early literacy skills.

Summer Reading Outcome #1: Youth maintain or improve their literacy skills over the summer.
Summer Reading Outcome #2: Youth demonstrate their love of reading and learning by choosing to engage in these activities during their free time over the summer.
Summer Reading Outcome #3: Adults enjoy spending time engaging in early literacy activities with youth over the summer to help them develop literacy skills.


Each biennium, the Legislature allocates a total amount of Ready to Read funding, half of which is distributed each year of the biennium. Grant amounts are calculated each fiscal year based on the number of youth ages 0-14 a particular library serves, and the geographical area a library covers with its services. Libraries receive a minimum grant amount of $1000 and apply for the exact amount calculated each year. For 2020, the State Library will distribute $759,221 to 135 public libraries in December 2019 to use in their Ready to Read projects. This is approximately $1.02 per Oregon youth aged 0-14 served in a library. The 2020 proposed grant amounts each library will receive can be viewed below.


For the latest annual report, please see the 2018 Ready to Read Annual Report.

Important Dates

Deadlines and Other Important Dates in the Ready to Read Process

The timeline for the Ready to Read grant cycle is set by the Oregon Administrative Rules, 543-040-005 – 543-000-0040.

 

What's happening? Date
Applications for 2020 Ready to Read grant open online July 1, 2019
2020 Ready to Read applications due online August 31, 2019
2019 Ready to Read report form opens online October 1, 2019
State Library Board Meets to Approve Ready to Read Applications October 18, 2019
Official notification of funding (following State Library Board decisions) October 31, 2019
2019 Ready to Read report due online  December 1, 2019
All 2019 grant funds must be spent December 31, 2019
2020 grant funds distributed December 31, 2019
Successfully funded projects may begin January 1, 2020
Applications for 2021 Ready to Read grants open online July 1, 2020
2021 Ready to Read applications due in the online grants portal August 31, 2020
2020 Ready to Read report form opens online October 1, 2020
2020 Ready to Read report forms due December 1, 2020
All 2020 grant funds must be spent December 31, 2020

Eligibility

Eligibility

All legally established public libraries and public library systems are eligible to apply for Ready to Read grant funds when applications open July 1st.

How to Apply

How to Apply

 

Applications are currently open until August 31, 2019. Grant applications are only accepted online. If you have not created your library’s online account, please do so here: State Library Online Grants


Account Creation Directions:
In this set-up year, every library’s grant coordinator will need to visit the State Library Ready to Read page and set up their online account at the link above.  
1)    Create an account to log into the online grants portal – This is basically setting up a username and password.
2)    You will now create an organizational profile for your library, with details like name and address.
a.    There is one weird field – a DUNS number – because some non-profits apply for LSTA grants, but you don’t need to worry about this field. Skip it!
b.    If you are not your library’s director, there will be space here for you to add your director’s name and e-mail, so on our end we can see both of you attached to your library.
3)    You can now start your application. You do not have to complete your application in one sitting, you can log in and out as you wish.  

The 2020 application questions have been updated to help make the application more user friendly and more applicable for a wide range of library services – We must be flexible enough to meet the needs of every library, from our tiniest cities to our biggest one. We recognize one size does not fit all even though we have one process for this grant. We hope we have made forward progress but will appreciate any feedback you may have for us about how this process works for your library.


For more detailed application instructions, please see the Application Guidelines Step by Step.

Application review process

Application review process


2020 Ready to Read applications will be initially evaluated by the Youth Services Consultant, who will make funding recommendations to the State Library Board on which projects should be funded. Applicants will be notified of these recommendation. The State Library Board will review the 2020 Ready to Read grant applications at their October 18, 2019 meeting. Applicants will be notified of their final funding status no later than October 31, 2019. Successfully funded projects may begin January 1, 2020. All 2020 grant funds should be expended by December 31, 2020.

Evaluation Criteria

Evaluation Criteria

 

2020 Ready to Read Applications will be evaluated based on the following criteria:
•    Activities are described that will help youth achieve the targeted outcome/s.
•    Activities are described that will help caregivers achieve the targeted outcome/s.
•    Ways to measure progress toward outcome/s are clearly described and are an accurate way to assess progress.
•    Project partners contribute significantly to the project.
•    For libraries with grant amounts over $5000, a letter of support is included.
•    The budget is clear, sufficient, and grant-related costs are allowable under state guidelines.


In the online grant system, there are places where the youth services consultant can ask questions or make comments about the library’s application. Applying libraries cannot see these questions in their initial view of the application, but you are welcome to view the below version of the application, which has highlighted evaluation questions. All evaluation questions are related directly to the above list.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

I have an idea for a project, but I'm not sure about....?

Please reach out to State Library staff for any questions or ideas you have, we are happy to talk thorugh a project idea.

 

Our staffing has recently changed. How do I let you know who will be the new point person for this grant?

Please keep us up to date with any changes to your library director and your grant coordinator. In your library’s online profile, you can log in to change the name of previous grant coordinators and/or add anyone else you’d like us to keep in contact with. If you would like help with this, please let us know by sending an e-mail to readytoread.grant@state.or.us.

 

How much can I ask for?


All Ready to Read grants are based on the population each library serves and the geographic area each library’s service area covers, so grant amounts are set at specific amounts each year. The lowest grant amount is $1000, and the largest is typically awarded to Multnomah County Library. For example, in 2018, Multnomah County Library served 129,551 youth ages 0-14 and received a Ready to Read grant amount of $107,193. See the 2020 Proposed Grant Amounts above to see how much is allocated for each library.

 

What can Ready to Read funds be used for?


The range of allowable expenditures is quite large. However, there are also things which state funds generally cannot be used for, including any design work of Summer Reading materials. (These are provided to all libraries through access to the statewide summer reading program, which includes graphic design materials.) If you are unsure about a proposed grant-related cost, please ask!

 

Do I need matching funds to receive a Ready to Read grant?


We do not require projects to match grant requests with local or in-kind funding. However, it is always good to include these resources in your grant application budget. This demonstrates that you have either found partners for your project (in the form of cash or in-kind support) or have thought deeply about the sometimes hidden costs of projects. Additionally, sharing your local and in-kind funding helps us calculate the leverage Ready to Read funds have in their communities, which in turn helps us demonstrate their value.

 

How do I get the money?


Ready to Read grant funds are distributed in December of each year. Library funding structures vary widely across the state. Some libraries directly deposit grant funds into their accounts, some libraries have a fiscal agent – such as their city or county – who take responsibility for the grant funds.

 

Before I can submit my application, I have to get approval from my county/board/city/etc. How can I print a draft to show them?


Head to your Application online. You can see your library information at the top of the screen before the application tabs start. There are two buttons on the right hand side, one says “Application Packet” and one says “Question List.” You can click “Application Packet” to get a draft application that is printable and or viewable via e-mail for anyone you need to share it with.

 

Something’s changed at my library. What if I need to change my grant?


Sometimes projects start and unanticipated costs arise. Please let us know via readytoread.grant@state.or.us if you have any unexpected changes to your Ready to Read project, we are happy to help find good solutions!


If you need to reallocate costs above 10% of your total Ready to Read grant award from one budget category to another, a Grant Modification Request form is available in the online grants system. Please use this to submit any needed changes for approval. As long as the scope or intended outcomes of your project are not significantly altered, your request will likely be approved quickly.

How will I measure my project's outcomes?

Every project is different, but it is crucial to articulate the desired outcome(s) of your proposed project, and to also think about how you will be able to reasonably measure how your project delivered on those stated outcomes. Stating that your project helped 128 kids sign up for library cards is not an outcome, that's an output. An outcome would be something like, Of the 128 previously unserved families our project reached out to, 80% say they now use the library on a regular basis. An outcome is often reflected as a change in attitude and/or behavior.

A short and excellent article (written by librarians for librarians!) to help get you started thinking about outcomes is:

Hosseini-Ara, M., & Jones, R. (2013, June). Overcoming Our Habits and Learning to Measure Impact. Computers in Libraries, 33(5), Retrieved from http://www.infotoday.com/cilmag/jun13/Hosseini-Ara_Jones--Overcoming-Our-Habits-and-Learning-to-Measure-Impact.shtml

Alternately, the Institute of Museum of Library Services (IMLS) offers some wonderful context and examples of outcomes based evaluation practices in this Outcome Based Evaluation Basics guide on their website.

You can find additional resources geared specifically to Early Literacy and Summer Reading outcomes in the Application Guidelines Step by Step.

 

How do I tell you about what happened in our grant project?

 


If you have exciting things happening with Ready to Read, please let us know via readytoread.grant@state.or.us!  We love hearing how things are working at your library! For official documentation purposes, every library will report on their Ready to Read projects if allocated money. Report forms for 2019 grants open online October 1st, 2019. They will be due December 1st, 2019.

 

I have a complaint or a concern about the Ready to Read Grants Program. How can I voice this concern?

 

Please submit concerns or complaints to Susan Westin, Program Manager for Library Support and Development Services, at susan.b.westin@state.or.us or 503-378-5435. Formal complaints will be forwarded to the State Librarian and the State Library Board and a response will be made. You may also reach out to members of the State Library Board.