The CLiF team recently met to discuss the pool of applicants for our 2023-2024 Rural Library grant, and to select this year’s recipients. This grant is designed to help small-town libraries in Vermont and New Hampshire create excitement around reading, increase circulation, and strengthen relationships with the communities they serve.

One component of the application is a narrative from the librarian that outlines their goals for children’s literacy programming and the ways in which the grant will impact their efforts. Here are a few excerpts:

“Our annual book budget is pitiful, and our collection of children’s books needs to be increased and updated to reflect a more inclusive, equitable, and culturally responsive group of students.”

“Parents are also reticent to come into the library, especially if they have low literacy skills themselves. CLiF storytellers and book giveaways help to provide a fun and relaxed low-key atmosphere to get families into the library for the first time, and then we can work to get them to come back.”

“The grant will get kids excited about the library and reading. That is the most important step to get kids to ask their parents to bring them to the library.”

“One of the challenges I have faced since starting my position here in 2021 is the lack of diversity in our collection. In the past we have had to rely on book donations to add new (used) children’s books. Many of our nonfiction resources are now outdated and need to be updated, which this grant would help us with.”

“[S]ince we had to close during the height of the pandemic, the core groups that used to come here have aged out of high school, and so the younger kids that would have followed their older siblings or friends don’t know that this is an option for them anymore. This grant would help reestablish a connection with those younger kids to reinforce the idea that the library is a place for them if they want it to be.”

We had many tough choices to make this year, as we received more deserving applications than we could fund. However, we could not be more excited about our latest group of partners, some of whom we’ve worked with in the past, and others who are new to CLiF. Congratulations to our ’23-’24 Rural Library recipients! We look forward to supporting your efforts.

Below is the release we shared with members of the press:

Waterbury Center, VT:
Twelve public libraries in Vermont and New Hampshire are recipients of the 2023-2024 Rural Library grant awarded by the Children’s Literacy Foundation (CLiF). The grant provides $2,500 in new children’s books for the public and local school libraries, literacy programming events, storytelling sessions, book giveaways, and more. 

The grantees are:

Alden Balch Memorial Library in Lunenburg, VT
Allenstown Public Library in Allenstown, NH
Fairlee Public Library in Fairlee, VT
Harrisville Public Library in Harrisville, NH
Lawrence Memorial Library in Bristol, VT
Maclure Library in Pittsford, VT
Marc A. Hurzeler M.D. Library in Jefferson, NH
New Durham Public Library in New Durham, NH
Olivia Rodham Memorial Library in Nelson, NH
Patten Library in North Haverhill, NH
Rochester Public Library in Rochester, VT
Sheldon Municipal Library in Sheldon, VT

“CLiF’s Rural Library grant program is a wonderful way to support libraries by generating awareness and enthusiasm through in-person events and book giveaways for local children,” said CLiF Program Manager Cassie Willner. “In addition, we know how important it is to help small libraries update and diversify their children’s book collections.”

Awarded annually to selected public libraries in the Twin States, CLiF’s Rural Library grant is designed to help small-town libraries create excitement around literacy, update their collections, increase circulation, and strengthen community ties. 

“Libraries are a vital community resource, and a big part of this grant is about helping children and the adults in their lives become better acquainted with all that their local library has to offer,” CLiF Executive Director Laura Rice said. “CLiF bolsters librarians’ community outreach efforts by providing funding for new books, literacy events, and other creative initiatives.” 

Each of the chosen sites will receive two storytelling performances hosted by CLiF’s professional presenters, new books for the public library, new books for the local elementary school library, a mini-grant for library family programming, and new books for children to choose and keep.

“This was a competitive grant year with more applicants than we could fund, and the interest in the grant shows that small public libraries are coming out of the pandemic eager to reconnect with their communities and boost engagement around reading,” Willner said.

To be considered for the grant, libraries must be located in New Hampshire or Vermont towns with a population of 5,000 or less, and show demonstrated need. Since 1998, CLiF has partnered with approximately 90 percent of libraries in both states that fall into that category. 

2 responses to “CLiF’s 2023-2024 Rural Library Partners

  1. This is such a wonderful grant program! I’m excited that our community is a recipient. Thank you to all who made this possible.

  2. Thanks for boosting literacy in general and the joy of visiting libraries in the region!
    And I’m very grateful that you chose Lawrence Memorial Library in Bristol as one of the grant recipients.

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