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 Rebecca Kluberdanz 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

New Initiatives Grant recipients will be expected to present either a talk or poster at CLRC’s Annual Conference in the fall.

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

  • 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 more than $2,000, as funds allow.

2020 deadlines for proposals are quarterly as follows:

  • Tuesday, March 31
  • Tuesday, June 30
  • Wednesday, September 30
  • Thursday, December 31

One year from the 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.

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

Jennine Bloomquist, Camden Middle School

Biking by the Book

An irresistible combination, this program focuses on combining the stress-reducing activities of exercising and reading for maximum results.

Pauline Shostack, Onondaga Community College

Scalable Makerspace Fan Creation Station

This proposal will allow OCC to create a three-tiered USB powered personal fan makerspace creation station. Students will have the opportunity to learn basic mechanical assembly, electrical wiring, 3D printing, and more.

Maggie Gall-Maynard & Alyssa Newton, Onondaga Free Library – Karen Fenner & Karin Backus, Westhill Central School District

On the Trail: From New York to Nome

The Onondaga Free Library, in partnership with Westhill Central School District, will present an innovative month-long learning opportunity around the theme of the Iditarod. The learning activities will include access to GPS monitoring of the 2020 race, opportunities to use virtual and augmented reality, and a presentation by Iditarod racer, Karen Land, and one of her sled dogs, Noggin.

Tatiana Sahm, Onondaga County Public Library

Nature Backpacks for Libraries

Nature Backpacks for Libraries are circulating kits in a backpack, which include items such as binoculars, magnifying glasses, and short format, engaging reading material about local flora and fauna. Nature Backpacks will boost STEM learning and encourage scientific curiosity.

Erin Cassidy, Community Library of DeWitt & Jamesville

Art in Conversation: Jacob Lawrence & James Baldwin

Art in Conversation: Jacob Lawrence & James Baldwin is a project designed by the Everson Museum of Art and the Community Library of DeWitt & Jamesville to address socially relevant topics and provide an opportunity to spark community dialogue.

Anne Nassar, Little Falls Public Library

Paint Your Masterpiece

The program would supply participants with everything patrons need to paint a picture: canvas, paint, a brush, and an art teacher (via Zoom). Then, Little Falls Public Library will host an art show in our gallery.

Jennifer McDonald, LaFayette School District

Little Embedded Libraries

This project will build little libraries and install them throughout the school district at historical sites and important institutions. The little libraries will be “library boxes” transmitting wifi signals that connect to any wifi capable device to provide digital content created by school students.

Carol Johnson, Mundy Branch Library

STARLAB Roving Planetarium Visits Syracuse City Libraries

STARLAB roving planetarium will visit Syracuse city libraries in support of the 2019 summer reading program theme, “Universe of Stories.” The planetarium presentation will enhance STEM learning, encourage scientific curiousity among urban youth, and engage children.

Final Report

Nickie Marquis, Skaneateles Library

Explore the World Kits

These kits will spark a child’s curiousity in the people and places around the world using aspects of reading, geography, and play.

Final Report

Mary Klucznik, Chittenango High School

New Media: The Silent Generation

“The Silent Generation” will create a podcasting studio in the Chittenango High School library designed for students enrolled in the New Media course and accessibile to all Chittenango high school students.

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.

Final Report

Sue LeBlanc, Madison-Oneida BOCES

From School to Public: Providing a Bridge for Student & Family Use of Public Library

This program aids to leverage school librarian-student relationships to promote public library use and combat “summer slide.” School librarians will collaborate with local public librarians to be involved with summer public library programming.

Jake Hare, Liverpool Public Library

Virtual Traveling

VR hardware can be used to provide patrons of existing programs with a richer, more engaging multimedia experience. Programs that are already popular can use it to enhance the experience of attendees and new outreach programs can take the materials out of the library building to expand patron services.

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.

Final Report

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.

Final Report

Elizabeth Hartnett & Janice Murray, Oneida/Herkimer BOCES

Engineering in a Novel Way

This project will create sets of lessons and supporting materials that combine ideas of Novel Engineering and Information Literacy for K-6 grade levels. Teacher Librarians will create kits that support these lessons to circulate to area schools to support STEAM and Information literacy.

Final Report