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Summer Reading Program: 2020 Learning Grants

2020 Learning Grants

2020 Application Period Open Now Through January 13, 2020.

The LORI Learning Grant Program provides opportunities for Rhode Island libraries to apply for smaller LORI Grants to work on innovative, forward-looking projects for youth learning that can be replicated in other libraries. LORI Learning Grants must meet the priorities of the 2018-2022 OLIS Five Year State Plan for the expenditure of LSTA funds. Specifically, grants must support learning opportunities in libraries for youth ages 5-18 in one of the two categories listed below.  LORI Grants are offered as subgrants of the OLIS Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) grant and are offered to support the overall purposes of LSTA. Any public library that meets eligibility requirements for State Aid to Libraries per RI General Law 29-6-3 is eligible to receive a LORI Grant.

The current application and associated materials can be found at:

Summer Learning Grant Opportunity

Children and teens who do not have access to quality learning opportunities during the summer months are at risk for losing reading and math skills acquired during the school year. Low-income youth are particularly at risk for summer learning loss, as they not only lose access to learning opportunities in a safe, supportive environment, but also lose access to healthy meals and physical education. Public libraries strive to stem this summer learning loss through equitable and accessible programming and services implemented through the annual Summer Reading Program. The Summer Learning grant is open to libraries looking to increase their impact on summer learning loss for youth ages 5-18. Projects should relate to summer learning beyond tracking reading accomplishments and address the disparities faced by low-income and underserved youth in the community. Projects could include, but are not limited to:

  • Program series that address a community need or build on a community learning initiative
  • Programming developed and implemented in partnership with a community organization or school
  • Teen internship programs, including paid teen internships
  • Multigenerational programming that engages caregivers in a child’s learning or that pairs older adults as mentors to youth
  • Purchasing tech tools and resources for programming and circulation
  • Purchasing or assembling kits on a variety of topics for circulation
  • Healthy activities that complement a summer meals program
  • Hiring an educator to deliver an in-depth learning program related to the summer theme “Imagine Your Story” (fairy or folk tales/mythology/fantasy)


Grant applications require an evaluation plan. Evaluation is a key piece of any project as:

  • it tells you and the grantor (OLIS) if a project was successful, i.e., the project met its goals and intended outcomes.Even if the project isn’t successful, evaluation tells you what didn’t work and why (e.g., insufficient community participation)
  • indicates whether or not your audience benefited from the project
  • focuses on participants, not activities that don’t involve participants (e.g., purchasing supplies)
  • identifies the outcomes that came about as a result of the project

In creating an evaluation plan, be sure to:

  • indicate which parts of the project will be evaluated and how
    • e.g., children who participate in the activity will be confident about the STEM skills they acquire
  • state how you will know that the project met its intended goals and outcomes
  • specify any evaluation tools or models that will be used to measure success
    • e.g., PLA’s Project Outcome surveys, IMLS surveys supplied by OLIS

 Additional information about outcome based evaluation:

It is also helpful to consider how you will gather baseline data. Baseline data will show the skills, attitudes, and knowledge before grant project activities and can be used to demonstrate what, if any, change took place as a result of the grant project. Pre/post questionnaires and surveys are the most common methods for gathering baseline data, but many of the methods listed below can be used or modified for this purpose. Additional information about baseline data:

Evalution Tools and Methods

There are a variety of evaluation tools and methods for collecting outcome based data. Outcomes are the knowledge transferred or behaviors changed as evidenced by the target audience’s changed or improved skills, attitudes, knowledge, behaviors, status, or life conditions brought about by experiencing a program. In developing a plan for collecting outcomes you may consider:

Connected Learning Grant Opportunity

As one of five state library agencies selected to participate in the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) pilot cohort of Transforming Teen Services, Train the Trainer (TTT) project, OLIS trained young adult services librarians on connected learning, computational thinking, and coding. The Connected Learning grant option is to assist libraries in putting into practice key elements of the connected learning framework for services to tweens and teens as demonstrated in OLIS’ training. Projects must address the six principles of connected learning: interests, relationships, opportunities, production-centered, shared purpose, and openly networked. Libraries applying for this grant are encouraged to consider how their project will reach underserved tweens and teens in their community. Projects could include, but are not limited to:

  • Using tech tools for content creation or coding
  • Hiring an educator to provide an in-depth training on a skill set of interest to tweens and teens
  • Hiring a speaker from a specialized field to provide a workshop detailing the path between interests and careers
  • Programming that encourages and supports informal peer interaction and peer to peer mentoring
  • Programming that encourages and supports youth voice and change-making

Additional Workshops

If you are unable to attend a workshop, please contact either Danielle Margarida at or Donna DiMichele at before December 20 to schedule a time to discuss the grant application.

LORI Learning Grant Workshop: October 7, 2020