Grants for Digitization Projects: LSTA

Wisconsin libraries are already well aware of the “Digitization of Library Historical Material” grant category available through LSTA. This post offers a few suggestions for an effective LSTA application.

Background: The Library Services and Technology Act Grants to States program is the largest source of federal funding for library services in the U.S. and is administered by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction's Division for Libraries and Technology implements the Grants to States program on behalf of public libraries in Wisconsin.

Deadline: October 14, 2016

Grant amount:
Level 1 - $1,000-$5,000
Level 2 - $5,000-$10,000

Match required: No

Further information:

                Primary webpage:

                FAQ – Digitization Category Requirements:  

Contact: Ryan Claringbole, (608)266-9534,

Useful things to know:

A major component of the LSTA grant application is the “Project Activities” section, introduced last year. Applicants are asked to list up to ten specific project activities and, for each activity, describe where it will take place, who will benefit, identified partners, and an evaluation strategy. Activities are defined further by selecting a specific Mode and Format in the application form. For example, a project to create a digital collection of historical photographs would involve several activities, such as:

  • Scanning (Activity – Content; Mode – Creation; Format – Digital)
  • Creating metadata (Activity – Content; Mode – Description; Format – Digital)
  • Promoting the project through a lecture series on local history (Activity – Instruction; Mode – Presentation; Format – In-person)

Partnerships with other institutions, such as a local historical society or a neighboring library, must be documented with a written agreement.
Another LSTA grant category, “Content Creation,” (previously “Digital Creation Spaces”) could potentially be used to aid community members in digitizing local history resources. For example, the Oscar Grady Public Library used funds in this category to create their Digital Media Conversion Lab.

Sample application: Dwight Foster Public Library, 2016