SLNC Bright Ideas Grants

Application open through August 15, 2022

The application to apply for SLNC Bright Ideas has been extended!


Inspiring innovation and providing educational programming and new services at local libraries, SLNC Bright Ideas Grants have a rolling deadline and a simplified application with awards issued within 10 days of the deadline. A library may request a maximum of $15,000 and no matching funds are required for this program. Funding is available on a first-come, first-served basis, with over a $1 million anticipated in awards.

SLNC Bright Ideas Grants seeks to inspire and galvanize libraries with an opportunity that will allow for the design and implementation of creative solutions and innovative ideas to solve unique problems in their communities. These funds will allow North Carolina libraries to strengthen capacity, expand access, and engage communities in areas of need across the state, supporting all three goals of North Carolina’s LSTA Five-Year Plan.

Eligible libraries

North Carolina public libraries eligible for the Aid to Public Libraries Fund, community college libraries, UNC system libraries, and North Carolina Independent College and University (NCICU) libraries may submit one application for a SLNC Bright Ideas Grant.


Up to $15,000 overall, with no match required, in one or more of these topics areas:

  • Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion – Providing services and programs that improve Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion to better serve underserved groups in local communities
  • Health – Providing services and programs that improve public health initiatives including, but not limited to telehealth, health and nutritional education, mental health and substance abuse resources
  • Workforce development – Assisting unemployed and job seekers to enter, remain, and advance in the workplace
  • Citizen Science – Implementing data-driven, science-based programming to the community with the assistance of kits and other resources
  • Civic Engagement – Fostering community members engagement and ability to engage through new programs and services that furthers the common or community good
  • Early Childhood Literacy – Expanding early childhood literacy initiatives to develop children’s literacy and language skills
  • Digital Inclusion – Offering services and programs that support digital inclusion, digital equity, and digital literacy efforts in local communities
  • Community Memory – Supporting local communities and individuals with personal archiving and digital preservation services

Example Projects Ideas include, but are not limited to:

  • Multisensory kits
  • Telehealth studios (ready-made or non-construction room conversion)
  • Career Fair and Job Seeker collection
  • Nature Backpacks
  • Coding Camp
  • Insert YOUR Bright Idea here!

Important Dates

Application Extended!

  • August 15, 2022 at 11:59 pm - Last day to apply. Applications due on the 1st and 15th of every month through August 1.
  • August 25, 2022 - Last day for awards to be issued.  Applications will be awarded on a rolling basis by the 11th and 25th day of every month through August 25.
  • September 30, 2022 - Final Date for Expenditures
  • October 15, 2022 - Reimbursement Requests due
  • November 1, 2022 - Final Report due

Awarding Information

Only complete applications will be reviewed.  Complete applications include all required signatures and sections as described in the application prompts. A complete application provides a description of the project, its activities and identifies an intended audience who will most immediately and positively affected by the project, and an allowable budget. All awardees must have Unique Entity Identifier (UEI) through, as required by 2 CFR 25.300. Questions about your UEI? Email for assistance

Awards will be issued until funds are depleted or the final deadline passes, whichever occurs first.

Reimbursement Information

  • All grants are awarded on a reimbursement basis
  • Eligible expenses will be invoiced, purchased and funds encumbered between the award execution date (once all parties have signed) and the final date for expenditures. 
  • If you are eligible for the sales tax refund under NCGS 105-164.14 you are not allowed to receive reimbursement for sales tax.  The NC Dept. Of Revenue will provide that refund as normal.  If you are not eligible for the sales tax refund, sales tax is an allowable cost.

Allowable costs

  • Evaluation to show the extent to which the project has met its goals; 
  • Furnishings* that are necessary to support the project;
  • Hardware, software, and/or technology* necessary to support the project;
  • Indirect costs;
  • Library materials* that are necessary to support the project;
  • Postage and printing costs for project materials;
  • Supplies necessary to support the project;
  • Other expenses that are reasonable and necessary to support the project.

*Funds for any of these items may be requested under this grant program when combined with a new program or service that is the primary purpose of the project; acquisition of these items should not be the primary purpose of the project.

Unallowable costs

  • Ongoing subscriptions and services beyond the funding period
  • Bookmobile/mobile libraries/outreach vehicles
  • Consultant costs
  • eMaterials, including eBooks, eAudio, and eVideo
  • Salaries, wages, and/or benefits
  • Travel costs
  • Activities or programs about advocacy, grant writing, or lobbying with a purpose of increasing funding and/or whose primary purpose is to establish a general message that 'libraries are good places and deserve to exist'; 
  • Architectural plans for existing or new buildings; 
  • Collection development activities, including electronic materials; 
  • Construction or pre-construction planning; 
  • Construction or renovation of facilities (generally, any activity involving contract labor in the construction trades is not allowable); 
  • Conventional arrangement, description, or cataloging of materials; 
  • Costs associated with content management systems (such as CONTENTdm); 
  • Digitizing runs of newspapers; 
  • Events, festivals, staff training, or acquisition of collections; 
  • Fundraising costs; 
  • General advertising or public relations costs not specific to LSTA-funded activities; 
  • General operating support;  
  • Ongoing expenditures such as subscriptions, utilities, Internet access, or other services ,
  • Pre-award costs; 
  • Promotional items and memorabilia including gifts, incentives, and souvenirs; 
  • Refreshments, entertainment, ceremonies, receptions, or social events; 
  • Sub-awards; and 
  • Other expenses prohibited by state or federal regulations. 


Be familiar with and understand the Guidelines and Application Instructions available; contact the State Library with any questions.

Apply Now!

Note: this application is not being submitted through the GMS.

Upon submitting your application form you will get two emails. The first will be from Formsite, and it will contain an unsigned copy of your application. The second email will be from DocuSign. You can use the DocuSign email to gather the signatures electronically by the deadline, or print the unsigned application from Formsite and gather physical signatures. If you gather physical signatures, you must scan and email the fully signed application to by the deadline. The application is not complete until both the Library Director and the Authorizing Official have signed.

For questions on this program, please contact