The Institute of Museum and Library Services has released Sparks! Ignition Grants for Libraries and Museums guidelines.
Here's an excerpt from the press release:
This new grant program will provide one-year grants of $10,000 to $25,000 for innovative projects that respond to the challenges and opportunities facing cultural heritage institutions in a rapidly changing information environment. The submission deadline is November 15, 2010.
Successful proposals will address problems, challenges, or needs of broad relevance to museums, libraries, or archives, will test innovative responses to these problems, and will make the findings of these tests widely and openly accessible. Grant funding may include all activities associated with planning, deploying, and evaluating the innovation, as long as the expenses are allowable under federal and IMLS guidelines. Examples of projects that might be funded by this program include, but are not limited to:
- exploring the potential of highly original, experimental collaborations,
- implementing new workflows or processes with potential for substantial cost savings,
- testing new metrics or methods to measure the impact of promising tools or services,
- rapid prototyping and testing of new types of software tools, or creating useful new ways to link separate software applications used in libraries, archives, or museums,
- offering innovative new types of services or service options to museum, library, or archive visitors, or
- enhancing institutions’ abilities to interact with audiences in new ways to promote learning or improve services, such as through the deployment of innovative crowd-sourcing techniques.
Sparks! Ignition Grant funds may not be used for:
- evaluation of an existing program or service,
- projects that are only for planning or research (as distinguished from experimentation),
- projects that are limited to existing and traditional approaches to exhibitions, performances, or other types of public programs,
- projects that involve mainly digitization, unless the applicant is proposing an innovative method for digitization,
- activities that will produce only incremental improvements in operational or business processes,
- support of conferences or professional meetings, or
- acquisition of equipment in excess of 50 percent of the total funds requested from IMLS.