Mission: To help libraries and friends and supporters of libraries increase their understanding of library funding sources, identify funding opportunities, and track library funding trends.
Background: Libraries play a critical role in their communities, providing free programs, resources, and services to millions of adults, children, and youth on a daily basis across the United States. But they frequently lack the support and resources they need to innovate and build upon the services they provide in ways that meet their communities' needs. Earlier this month, Foundation Center launched Visualizing Funding for Libraries, a free comprehensive database of library funding that provides information on grants awarded to or in support of libraries by U.S. foundations. With support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the data visualization tool is designed to help librarians and library administrators find grants to fill gaps created by government budget cuts, diversify their funding sources, and/or expand their programming. Library advocates, foundations, and nonprofits also can use the tool to better understand the library funding landscape.
Outstanding Web Features: Through data mapping technology and the corresponding data set, Visualizing Funding for Libraries enables viewers to explore foundation funding for libraries from 2006 to the present in five subject areas: 1) academic, 2) government, and 3) public libraries; 4) archives and special collections; and 5) school libraries and media centers. Funding data for both grant recipients and funders is available through the map display, while the tool also offers a "list" feature that lets users view and sort funder, recipient, and grant data in table format; aggregate funding data displayed as bar and trend charts; a "pathways" view that reveals links between library funders and similar grant recipients; and a "constellation" view that allows users to map their networks in ways that illustrate new points of connection to the broader funding universe. Because many libraries don't have dedicated fundraising staff, Foundation Center offers free training in the use of the tool, including webinars on how to use the tool and grantseeking basics; a self-paced online course that is ideal for libraries with limited resources; and in-person events with Foundation Center partners, including select Funding Information Network locations nationwide.