“If you wait until a pandemic to build community partnerships, it’s going to be a challenge” -Eli Guinee, New Mexico librarian (Freudeberger)

Finding a partnership is a great way to supplement meager and/or non-existent budgets. Libraries struggle to provide their users with year-round quality programming. There are Facebook groups where librarians share ideas of what to do with specific materials or left over items. The ingenuity of trying to continuously engage the library community is phenomenal. 

Where do we begin? The first steps would be to identify potential partners and clearly identify how each party benefits from the partnership. Your partnership has to make sense for your library community.  How do you apply for grants? How do you plead to your library’s governing body for more funding? You are not alone. Applying for grants and additional funding is cumbersome and can be frustrating. The key is to never give up and to ask for help when needed. 


  1. Where to find money:

The cost to apply for grants/funds/programs is free; however there is a cost for labor hours needed for staff to research, write and apply for grants and funding. 

  • Watch for state grants, such as technology grants and the one in this State Library Press Release
  • Use refurbished material such as those supplied by human-I-T 
  • Use community volunteers to assist with interpreting for the community they identify with. 

      b. Regional connections:

Regional connections build community. Seek out people or groups in your area that would be willing to teach a new skill or craft to library users for free or a nominal fee. Many community people and businesses would be willing to donate time in exchange for free advertising. The cost to host instruction style events is low to medium. The library can host an event via their virtual platform. The low cost is attributed to the labor hours needed for staff to research and communicate with potential community instructors. The cost rises when supply kits for library users are included. 

  • Home chefs/professional chefs:
    • Struggle meals
    • Meals you can make with 99 cent store ingredients
    • Semi-homemade meals
    • Cookie decorating
  • Local authors/poets:
    • Allow up-and-coming authors and poets to read or recite their works. 
  • Knitting, crocheting & sewing circle groups
  • College alumni and faculty emeritus groups
  • Local gardening clubs or groups
  • Other local libraries

       c. Social Media Takeovers:

The cost for social media takeovers are free; however, there is a cost for the labor hours needed for staff to create content and post events on social media.  Social media takeovers can increase followers and engagement. For an agreed upon amount of time, a business will allow the library to post content directly to their social media account. One idea is to partner with local bookstores. See: 

d. Sponsorships:

Seek out the sponsorship of regional school/office supply companies to provide supplies.