Well, I have forayed into the wide world of grant funding.
The UNT Library Dean, Martin Halbert, awards “Dean’s Innovation Grants” each year to various librarians who have an innovative idea and need funding to help research, study, and work on that idea. This is a great starting point for learning how to apply for grants, because they are small ($5,000 max) and internally funded. However, they do tend to be competitive because UNT has a lot of great librarians who all have great ideas.
This year, I decided to try and apply for one since I am really enjoying my new job and career as a librarian. At the suggestion of my Associate Dean, I reached out to some colleagues in the government documents area of the library, which is the same area of the library where I volunteered in the past. After a few meetings and looking at different collections, we settled on applying for the grant as a research and demonstration project. The basic idea of our project will be taking an already established collection at our library and adding current and cutting edge library technology to the information and see how it affects discoverability and use.
The application process was pretty simple and we thought our idea was interesting and fairly innovative. However, until Martin announced the grant winners, there was no communication about how many people applied or how the decision process worked (aside from his personal/professional discretion). But on the day of the awards ceremony, much to our surprise, only my grant and one other received the full $5,000 while some of the rest received about half of their asked for amount.
Needless to say, this shocked me especially because as lead person on this grant, I am very early in my career. But I do love working hard and meeting challenges and I am excited to see what this research holds. As we get started on the project, I will make sure to post updates here as well as links to anything that might be published elsewhere on the internet.
Wish us luck!