Use Technology You Already Have
There’s no need to buy new fancy equipment to replicate many of the projects here. A story collecting project can be done cheaply with a laptop or computer with webcam and microphone. An unused or under-utilized tablet can be pre-loaded with project-related apps and loaned out to patrons. Think about what you would like to accomplish, and then think creatively about what you already have.
Explore Engaging, Low-cost Solutions
Not all engaging technology programming costs loads of money. Green screen programs were a hit across several Studio Rhode projects, from teens to local business owners. Green screens are inexpensive, easy to use, and incredibly versatile. Likewise, a library interested in virtual reality may not be ready to purchase a fully immersive system, but could start with inexpensive, easy-to-use Google Cardboard until they can secure funding for the real deal. And free tools like Audacity, Gimp, and Shotcut can enable anyone to create digital content without spending anything.
Share Amongst Libraries
If you are active in your professional community, look out for new and exciting technology in other libraries and reach out. Libraries have a strong ethos of sharing resources, and though there may not be a formal system for technology lending in your county or state, other libraries may be willing to let you borrow their equipment.
Look at the assets your community partners bring to your project, and utilize them wherever possible. From free labor in assembling equipment to free advertising on local radio, our libraries saw a significant cost savings from working with partners.
Apply for Multiple Grants
Some projects will always have a massive startup cost or require more money than the maximum awarded. Don’t be afraid to apply for multiple grants to supplement a project. Securing additional funding can result in projects that more closely match the original vision.