Rural Public Library Grants

Children’s Book Project Program Grants

Rural public libraries in the United States that have suffered loss and damage due to recent natural disasters (flooding, fire, hurricanes, etc.) may be eligible for special non-matching grants: Disaster Relief Grant information.

Children’s Book Project Grant Information

Please read all the information below to determine if your library is eligible for a grant under the Children’s Book Project Program. The Pilcrow Foundation does not offer grants to libraries outside of the 50 United States, libraries in urban or metropolitan areas, or libraries with substantial operating budgets. Do not apply if your library is not located within the United States.

The Pilcrow Foundation, a national non-profit public charity, provides a 2-to-1 match to rural public libraries that receive a grant through its Children’s Book Project and contribute $200-$400 through a local sponsors for the purchase of up to $1200 worth (at retail value) of new, quality, hardcover children’s books.

We provide a list of over 500 quality hardcover children’s books from which Children’s Book Project grant recipients can select books best suited for their community. The book list includes award-winning and star-reviewed titles from educational and literary organizations.

Rural Library Systems

The Pilcrow Foundation accepts applications from independent rural public libraries and Native American Tribal libraries as well as libraries that are part of a county, regional, or cooperative system.

A branch library may apply if it serves a rural community. If the branch library receives its funding from a parent institution, the parent institution’s total operating budget, not just the branch library’s total operating budget, must demonstrate budgetary limitations.

The Pilcrow Foundation accepts applications from school libraries only if the school library also serves as the community’s public library (i.e., it is open to the entire community; has summer hours; is open beyond the school day, including Saturdays; there is no public library in town) and meets the budgetary and rural requirements.

Funding Requirements

Libraries qualify for the Children’s Book Project grant on an individual basis. To qualify for the grant, libraries must be located in a rural area within the 50 United States, have a limited operating budget, have an active children’s department, and raise $200-$400 through a local sponsor. Libraries with total operating budgets of less than $50,000 will receive funding priority; however, town libraries with total operating budgets over $150,000 may also apply for grants. Be sure to provide accurate information about the library’s operating budget on the Children’s Book Project grant application. Failure to accurately describe the library’s operating budget may disqualify your application.

Rural Library Service Areas

A rural community is typically more than 40 miles from an urban area (population over 50,000) and not a part of a metropolitan area. A rural town library system should serve a population under 10,000 (priority to community populations under 5,000). A rural county library system should serve a population under 20,000. Be sure to provide accurate information about your library’s service area on the Children’s Book Project grant application. Failure to accurately describe your service area may disqualify your application.

Grant Application and Funding Cycle

Annual application deadlines for grant cycles are April 1 and October 1 (postmark date). You do not need to send your application by Express or Certified Mail etc., as we look at the postmark date for adherence to the deadline.

Grants will be awarded and grant recipients will be posted on our website by April 15 and October 15. Acceptance packets will be mailed within 10-15 days after we announce the Children’s Book Project grant recipients on our website. We are not able to notify librarians who did not receive a grant.

Librarians may obtain a grant application from The Pilcrow Foundation in the ways listed below. All applications must be printed, stapled, signed, and returned to The Pilcrow Foundation by mail. We do not accept electronic or faxed copies of the grant application. Please do not send your matching grant funds with the Children’s Book Project Grant Application.


Children’s Book Project grant recipients who have fulfilled all grant funding requirements, including the final report (see Section X in the Children’s Book Project grant application for details), may apply for another grant three years after the receipt of their previous grant. Grant recipients who do not fulfill all the grant requirements including the final report are not eligible for future grants funded by The Pilcrow Foundation through the Children’s Book Project.

If you have any questions about The Pilcrow Foundation, its Children’s Book Project, or the grant application, please contact Karren Timmermans (

Children’s Book Project Grant Recipients

A librarian from the library awarded a grant through the Children’s Book Project Program will receive an acceptance packet with details of the award and a booklist, provided by The Pilcrow Foundation, from which to select books for the library. The booklist is divided into two groups based on recommended age and grade levels. Books in Group 1 are for emergent and beginning readers (birth to age 7; preschool to grade 2). Books in Group 2 are for middle and intermediate readers (ages 7 to 12; grades 2 to 6). Please note: The booklists are for the sole use of participants in The Pilcrow Foundation’s Children’s Book Project and should not be distributed for any reason. We only distribute the book list to grant recipients.

The Foundation provides bookplates for all books received through the Children’s Book Project. The bookplates identify the local sponsors and The Pilcrow Foundation. If the library received all of the sponsored funds “in honor of” or “in memory of” an individual, the bookplates can be inscribed to honor that person.