The objective of a DLA funded grant is to provide funds that help cover library programs or exhibitions that foster a sense of community engagement, and/or present timely topics of interest in areas such as civics, humanities, pop culture, world events, literature, health, family, or other areas as deemed appropriate.

DLA is looking for community-engaged programs that go beyond a presentation, and focus on community input and interaction.  Programs that provide accurate historical context, advocacy resources, or open dialogue/online discussion boards are some examples of community engagement offerings.  Projects where community-based organizations partner with a library are strongly preferred.



Review the Community Engagement Mini-Grant flyer

Review the GRANT APPLICANT FACT SHEET-FY24 for grant requirements and application criteria.

Review the grant application questions.

Review an example of a past winning application.

Review an example of a past final report.


Access the Grant Application Form


Community Engagement Grant – FY23 Award News

The Delaware Library Association (DLA) awarded two Community Engagement Grants in FY23 totaling $1500.  The DLA Community Engagement grant is awarded annually and is open to any personal or institutional member of DLA.  More information on the grant, including when the next grant cycle will open, can be found at

Congratulations to the Brandywine Hundred Library!

The Brandywine Hundred Library was awarded $1000.00 for their proposal; Big Feelings Book Bags.  The project will help support parents and caregivers as they address important but normal issues facing their children.  Each Big Feelings bookbag will consist of a set of pre-selected, developmentally appropriate books on a particular topic, which can easily be located and borrowed as a kit.

Bernadette Davis is the Children’s Librarian at the Brandywine Hundred Library.  Her inspiration for this project came from years of working the Children’s reference desk and having parents ask for help with big, tough questions; such as the addition of a new sibling, loss of a pet, death of a grandparent, and starting a new school just to name a few examples.  It would become a frantic search for what materials on this topic are currently offered in the catalog, and also searching a variety of related topics.  She thought it would be great to have a set of resources already curated along with expert information and articles, and the Big Feelings bookbag idea was born.

The audience for the Big Feelings bookbag is parents or caregivers of children aged 2-6 years old.  The kits will have approximately 6 books on a particular topic that is targeted for children, along with a resource folder for parents.  The kits will be available to place on hold in the Delaware Library Catalog, so families statewide can make use of them.

The goal is to get the items into parents hands to help kids process their big feelings, and help parents have more conversations with their children.  “I am very gratified that as a society we’re putting more of a value on children’s social and emotional well-being.” said Bernadette.  Bernadette also hopes that families who use these bags will know that the library recognized the challenges they face as parents, and because of a positive experience with this resource, families will be more likely to turn to the library for future support and information as they need it.

Brandywine Hundred Library Director holding check with DLA Executive Board Members


Pictured left to right – Renee O’Donnell, Library Manager; Bernadette Davis, Youth Services Librarian; Rachel Culver, DLA President; Jaclyn Hale, DLA Treasurer

Brandywine Hundred Library Director and Youth Services Librarian with DLA Treasurer

Pictured left to right – Renee O’Donnell, Library Manager; Bernadette Davis, Youth Services Librarian; Jaclyn Hale, DLA Treasurer


Congratulations to the Route 9 Library & Innovation Center!

The Route 9 Library was awarded $500.00 for their proposal; Let’s Make It: A Place to Call HomeThe project will utilize the library’s Maker Lab resources to provide access, create connection, and empower unhoused populations in their community.  The library plans to partner with The Hope Center, which they have a new partnership with but hope that this project will help strengthen that relationship.  Upper-level New Castle County leadership is also excited about this project and are looking to see how it develops.

The project is the inspiration of Scott Businsky, Jessi Glassco, and Reshma Khan.  They feel that this is a great way to increase library visibility with a vulnerable population.  They will utilize staff and patron volunteers to assist the participants.  Initially the library will host an outreach table at the Hope Center to meet the residents, share library information, and provide a quick 5-minute make-and-take craft.  The main program will be two, three-hour sessions where an attendee can choose an item to make.  The attendee will work with a staff member or volunteer to set up the equipment, and work together to craft the desired result.

In talking with Jessi and Scott they have defined tangible and intangible goals.  The tangible goal is they hope that people will visit the library to make more stuff.  Completed projects from the participants can be used for promotional efforts, and incomplete projects are also useful to evaluate the initiative.  Jessi and Scott stress that’s it’s okay if projects aren’t finished.  Some may find they don’t enjoy this type of DIY project and that’s okay.  They tried and they learned something about themselves in the process.

The intangible goal is they want people to feel empowered that they created an item just for themselves rather than receiving donated items.  Creating a sense of comfort will make them feel more “at home” in their transitional and/or permanent housing by displaying something they crafted on their own.  It’s okay if people don’t finish the project during the program time.  Participants will be invited to come back to the library and they can work on the project during their own time.

Jessi and Scott are excited to launch this program.  This will help them develop a better understanding of the needs of some of their most vulnerable community members.

Route 9 Library and DLA Executive Board Members


Pictured left to right – Rachel Culver, DLA President; Alix Jefferson, Library Manager; Scott Businsky, Adult Services Librarian; Jessica Glassco, Makerspace Director & Library Specialist; Jaclyn Hale, DLA Treasurer

Route 9 Library Staff and DLA Executive Board Member

Pictured left to right – Alix Jefferson, Library Manager; Scott Businsky, Adult Services Librarian; Jaclyn Hale, DLA Treasurer; Jessica Glassco, Makerspace Director & Library Specialist

2022 Grant recipients

2021 Grant recipients

2020 Grant recipients

2019 Grant recipients

2018 Grant recipients