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Visualizing Funding for Libraries













Finding funding sources for a library capital campaign, equipment, or programming is easier using the free Foundation Center’s data tool:



Sponsored by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Visualizing Funding for Libraries' provides access to who is funding (U.S. foundations) and where funding is going (U.S. libraries) using interactive maps, charts, and relationship diagrams.

I’m on a grants team looking for capital campaign funding for a rural Wisconsin library in Green County. To get started, I watched this webinar which offered great tips on how to use the tool:

Visualizing Funding for Libraries: You’ve Gathered the Data, Now What


Here are a few search strategies I am using:

  • Look at funders and recipients in Congressional District 1, 2, and 3 (i.e. Southern WI)
  • Use the “MORE” or advanced search options to look at support for “capital and infrastructure”
  • Sort all WI funders by number of grants given, look at the dollar values and funder profiles.
  • Sort grants by dollar value, look at year and details about the grant.

I also added map layers by selecting the U.S. Demographics icon in the bottom right hand corner of the map.

To understand the underlying data, I checked the FAQ:

“The data set includes foundation funding from 2006-present in support of five subject category areas: 1) academic, 2) government, and 3) public libraries; 4) archives and special collections; and 5) school libraries and media centers. The grants were coded to one or more of these categories by Foundation Center. Federal grants include only 2016 data at this time.” “The data set will be updated weekly as new data becomes available.”

This means that it may be worth my time to go beyond grants that just went to libraries. For additional research, I plan to visit my local Funding Information Network to use their resources, including the Foundation Directory Online (Professional), which they make available for free. I found six locations in Wisconsin, using the Foundation Center map lookup:

Funding Information Network


The closest location for me is the UW-Madison Memorial Library Grants information Collection: https://www.library.wisc.edu/memorial/collections/grants-information-collection/

There, I will continue to look for local funders and grants that align with our other programs/initiatives, i.e. technology, early literacy, workforce development, STEM, etc.   


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