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Is this grant open to any public library in the United States?

This grant supports participants who broadly represent public librarians working in US rural and under-resourced urban communities.

Do I need to know about climate change topics or environmental issues?

Although no experience in leading science-based programs for adults or knowledge of climate issues is required to apply for this grant, some experience with STEM-related programming will be useful. We will provide skill-building support and materials that you will need to participate in the project.

What type of support and professional development will be available for me as I plan and offer the programs?

In addition to the mini-grant of $1,000, you will receive online professional development that will 1) help you explore and use NOAA data, tools, and related resources in tandem with learning how climate changes will impact your geographic region and 2) expand your understanding of the emerging role of libraries as a center for promoting environmental literacy and community engagement around climate change issues. You will be supported by an online community of peers and through ongoing interactions with your NOAA science partner. You will also receive program-specific templates to use for marketing and program planning that will need to be implemented independent of other programming your library offers.

What is the primary goal of the grant project?

Through a book/video public program discussion series co-facilitated by librarians and NOAA scientists, PLACE will help rural and under-resourced urban communities build resilience by increasing their environmental literacy specific to their regions' geography, vulnerabilities and threats.

How does the program planning work?

After completing the professional development series, you will begin to plan your programs and promote them in your community. You will co-facilitate your community program meetings with a NOAA science partner who will be identified and recruited through the help of the NOAA Office of Education. In preparation for the programs, you and your science partner will work together online, by phone, or face-to-face to finalize your book selections, customize the programs for your own communities' interests and needs, and discuss the infusion of NOAA data and research through the discussion and additional resources.

What are the programs like?

PLACE uses a model that is essentially “book club meets science café.” Participants are invited to read a pre-announced popular book selection, then to come to the library for a 90-minute program. Once there, they discuss the book, and then watch and discuss a thematically related video. As the capstone to each program meeting, participants will be introduced to a topically related NOAA resource for their own use. This same model is repeated for each of the programs, allowing enough time between each meeting for participants to read the subsequent book.

Does every library that applies get a grant?

No. Only 50 libraries will be able to participate. The PLACE Project Team will review and award grants after the August 1, 2016 deadline.

How much time do I have to commit to this project?

In general, you should plan on approximately 26-30 hours to plan and implement the 3-part public program series for adults in your community, which includes online professional development; planning and marketing the programs; working with a NOAA partner to co-facilitate the program, running the 3-part program series, and completing periodic online evaluation surveys.

Do I have to have a master’s of library science to participate?

No, a formal degree is not required.

Do I have to have a NOAA science partner before I apply?

No, you don’t need to have a science partner before you apply. NOAA will help identify and recruit your science partner. However, we will ask you to look up the NOAA office located nearest to you. You can use this link to find it:    http://www.legislative.noaa.gov/NIYS/

My colleague is applying for this grant. Can two people from the same library apply?

Yes, if they work in two different facilities. Each person will need to submit their own application.

My library's headquarters is not in a rural area or under-resourced urban area; however, my branch is. Am I still eligible?

Yes, if your facility serves a rural area or an under-resourced urban community, you are eligible.

What criteria are used to define “rural” and “under-resourced urban community”?


There are many definitions used by the federal government to define rural--most based on the lack of urban characteristics. We are trying to be flexible and use a continuum of rural that illustrates a library's access to resources. Rural is loosely defined as a population of less than 25,000, a population density of less than 1,000 people per square mile, and a distance from an urban area of more than 25 miles. If you are not sure if you qualify, please submit your application and let us decide.

Under-resourced Urban

Urban is defined as a geographic area of 50,000 or more people with a population density of at least 1,000 people per square mile. Under-resourced indicates an area that lacks access to any of the following: sufficient funding for infrastructure, public schools, and libraries; resources such as fresh food, stores, internet; local businesses; community volunteers; and availability of healthcare. If you are not sure if you qualify, please submit your application and let us decide.

How do I find out what percentage of children in my school district are receiving free and reduced lunches?

The National School Lunch Program (NSLP) is a federally assisted meal program operating in public schools. Free and reduced school lunch data is normally available from your state department of education. Or you might be able to obtain it directly from your local school district.

How do I find out the percentage of people below the poverty level of my area?

Look online at either http://quickfacts.census.gov or http://www.city-data.com

Who is managing and coordinating this grant project?

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is the lead organization, with the National Weather Service, Califa Library Group, Dawson Media Group, and Goodman Research Group providing staffing, resources, and support.  

What are the start and ends dates for the project?

The official grant period is October 2015 through September 2017. Library participation will be most active January 2017 through September 2017.

My library participated in the Pushing the Limits grant. Am I still eligible for this grant?

Yes! Library staff who participated in Pushing the Limits are eligible for the PLACE grant.