Applications due: November 5th, 2018 (5:00PM EST)
Applicants notified: December 7th, 2018
Award period start: January 15th, 2019
Award period end: September 15th, 2019


Civic Switchboard: Connecting Libraries and Community Information Networks is an Institute of Museum and Library Services supported effort that aims to develop the capacity of academic and public libraries in civic data ecosystems. Learn more about the project at our website.

We believe that libraries and library workers are well-suited to make important contributions around civic data, including helping people discover civic information, building data literacy and technical skills, providing technical assistance in data management and documentation, creating feedback mechanisms to data publishers, convening and hosting events, and connecting data users. However, many libraries have just started to play these roles in their local communities, and we’d like to add momentum to that process.

In 2018, the first year of our project, we hosted two workshops for library and data intermediary teams, and began to develop a guide and toolkit that libraries everywhere can use to get more involved in their local civic data ecosystems.

In 2019, Civic Switchboard will provide small awards to projects to be led by libraries in partnership with community data organizations. We’re calling these Field Projects; you can apply by following the guidelines below.


The Field Project awards are intended to increase your library’s role as a key participant in your civic data ecosystem. We are looking for projects that demonstrate a commitment to understanding and engaging with local ecosystems. Getting familiar with our blog posts and draft guide will give you a better picture of the of the kinds of activities our project aims to support. Specifically, we encourage you to check out our Typology of Library Roles to get ideas for potential projects – but don’t feel limited to what’s on this list. You should also feel free to get in touch with any questions:


The organization applying for the award must be a public or academic library located in the United States.

No prior engagement with the Civic Switchboard project is required.


We recognize that all organizational situations are different; therefore we are offering two levels of funding for the projects. In the budget section of the application, applicants should indicate one of two funding levels: $3,000 or $9,000. Select the level that matches your needs and the scope of your proposed work. Civic Switchboard has a total pool of $50,000 to award to the Field Projects. We expect awards will include a mix of projects at both funding levels.


In addition to performing its proposed work, each awarded project will be required to:

  • Participate in scheduled check-in calls with the project team. The project team also plans to visit some of our field award recipients during the project term.
  • Write a project report (2 - 4 pages); this information will inform case studies that will become part of the Civic Switchboard guide.


Please create a single PDF file that contains all of the following:

  • Project narrative (No more than 1000 words)
    The proposed project must be a new project, or a new component of an existing project. The proposed project must connect, in scope, to one or more of the Civic Switchboard guide sections. We expect your project to involve one or more partners from your local civic data ecosystem. Please make sure your narrative addresses the following:

    • Project name and team members
    • Values- What values will guide your collaboration?
    • Goals- What are the broad goals of your collaborative event, activity, service, or tool?
    • Concept and Target Audience- Describe the concept of your event, activity, service, or tool. Who will attend your event, benefit from your service, participate in your activity, or use your tool or data? How will you reach your target audience?
    • Roles- What roles will the core partners play? Who else will you need to work with to implement your event, service, activity, or tool, and what role(s) will these additional partners play? Will your partnerships or collaborations require any formal agreements?
    • Content- Where will the content of your event, activity, service, or tool come from? Will you leverage an existing model, standard, or product, or will the content be developed from scratch?
    • Logistics- What locations, facility requirements, materials, equipment, and infrastructure will be needed to create and implement your event, service, activity, or tool?
    • Resources- What will it cost in terms of time and financial support to implement your event, service, activity, or tool? Provide a high-level summary of anticipated expenses for your project. If the award will be used as a piece of a large budget, be clear about how the funds fit within the overall picture.
    • Timeline- How long will your project take to implement?
    • Measuring Success - How will you measure success, and what types of indicators will you use? How do you imagine success in this project will set you up for future work?
  • Biographical sketches for project team members (could be CV)

  • Organizational profiles (No more than 250 words for each organizational profile)

  • Letter of commitment (from the director or person with authority to commit the library to completing the work described in the application)


Please send your application materials as an attachment to with the subject line: Field Project Proposal - [LIBRARY NAME and PROJECT NAME] You will be notified that your application has been received.


Applications will be reviewed by the Civic Switchboard project team. During the review process, the team will consider the strengths of each application in the following areas:

  • Feasibility of project plan, timeline, and budget
  • Strength of project involvement in local ecosystem
  • Alignment with Civic Switchboard Guide and Toolkit
  • Community, geographic and library diversity