Fellowship and Opportunity Award Program - Guidelines for Application

Guidelines available in pdf format (2016 Application Guidelines)

Amigos Library Services is a member-led and member-focused cooperative whose mission is to unite libraries for action and strength in service to their communities. Our vision is that members will view Amigos as indispensable for strengthening their ability to serve their communities.

Through the Amigos Fellowship and Opportunity Award program, library and information professionals working in Amigos member libraries are encouraged to innovate, cooperate, lead, and educate within their library, their communities, and the library profession.

I. Purpose
The purpose of the Amigos Fellowship and Opportunity Award is to support innovation and development of new library services; foster the development of library and information professionals in Amigos member libraries; and further research and professional development in library cooperation and technology.

II. Eligibility
The Amigos Fellowship and Opportunity Award is available to the staffs of Amigos member institutions that have kept their membership in good standing for the preceding 18 months and agree to continue their membership during the two-year period of the award.

Amigos does not define specific project areas, but instead challenges applicants to be creative in defining projects that will further library innovation, cooperation, and technology development through leadership, resource-sharing, and information dissemination.

Amigos Fellowship and Opportunity Award funds do not support ongoing administrative or operational costs including, usual capital expenditures, development of formal courses to be offered for college or graduate credit, or tuition for a degree seeking student. Applicants must justify expenses as supporting innovation and progress.

Fellowship Awards:
Fellowship Awards are available to library and information professionals (preferably with an ALA accredited master’s degree) employed by an Amigos member library. Applicants can be individuals or teams of librarians.

Fellowship funds may be requested that will promote the growth and development of both the applicant and the library profession. Projects may involve demonstration, fact-finding, research, or career development, but are not limited to these types of projects.

Opportunity Awards:
Opportunity Awards are available to Amigos member libraries and will, in addition to supporting the growth and development of the individuals involved in the project, support innovation and development of new library services. For Opportunity Awards, the library is the applicant with a designated project leader.

Opportunity funds may be requested for programs that develop new services, implement new tools, advance library services for the community, or create change. An Amigos Opportunity Award may used as a match for other funding sources.

III. Criteria for Selection
In assessing proposals, the Amigos Fellowship and Opportunity Award Selection Committee will use these criteria. The relative value of each criterion is given.

A. The significance of the project outcomes. (Value – 20 points)
Considerations include:

  • Impact on the community served by the library
  • Potential for enhancing the future of the library or the applicant
  • Advancement of technology
  • Development of the applicant’s or the library’s leadership role

B. The degree of innovation within the project. (Value – 15 points)

C. Fellowship applications: The significance of the project to the personal professional development of the applicant(s). (Value – 10 points)

Opportunity Award applications: The significance of the project to service development for the library (Value – 7 points) and the significance of the project to the professional development of the project participants (Value – 3 points).

D. The benefit of the project to other libraries. (Value – 5 points)

E. The reasonableness of the strategy and the manageability and reasonableness of the project schedule. (Value – 15 points)

F. The ability and qualifications of the applicant(s) or project leader and participants to accomplish the stated objectives of the project. (Value – 10 points)

G. The compatibility of the evaluation criteria to the project objectives. (Value – 5 points)

H. The reasonableness of the project budget as related to the project objectives and the adequacy of the justification of expenses. (Value – 10 points)

I. The clarity and organization of the proposal. In addition to the point value for this criterion, a well-written proposal will provide the Selection Committee with the needed detail to fully evaluate all other criteria. (Value – 5 points)

J. Up to five (5) points are available to applicants who include a plan to publish a report or speak at a conference about their project. (Value – 5 points)

IV. Proposal
The proposal shall not exceed three (3) single-spaced pages, exclusive of cover, budget pages, project time schedule, and appendices. Sans Serif fonts preferred.

Proposal Outline:

A. Title

B. Abstract. Brief summary (up to 200 words) describing the project and its goals.

C. Objectives of the proposal. Describe the significance of the project along with its goals and outcomes. (Criteria for Selection A – D)

D. Strategy and Schedule. Describe explicitly how you plan to accomplish your objectives. Include such information as where, how, why, and which activities will be undertaken. Include a time table in the appendices. (Criteria for Selection E)

The Project and Final Report must be completed within two (2) years of the award date. In the time table provide a schedule of project activities, including the date the project will be completed and date the Final Report will be submitted to Amigos.

Note: Completed projects are not eligible for funding. For projects underway at the time of Fellowship and Opportunity Award application, distinguish between completed activities and activities to be completed with the requested funding.

E. Qualifications. Describe your experience and why you are qualified to conduct this project. (Criteria for Selection F)

F. Participants. List the resource people who will participate in the project. Describe their respective roles, planned activities, and qualifications. In the appendices, include a letter of support from them. (Criteria for Selection F)

If other organizations will be involved in the project, include in the appendix letters of commitment from these organizations.

G. Evaluation. Describe how you will determine whether or not the objectives or outcomes of your project have been met. (Criteria for Selection G)

H. Budget. Use the Project Budget Form in this packet to itemize planned expenses. In your narrative, justify the expenditures in each category. Provide project funding details including all sources. Ongoing institutional administrative and overhead charges are not eligible under this program. In general, capital expenditures are also not eligible. Funds may be used to hire research assistance; however salary for anyone involved in the project not taking unpaid leave is not eligible. Extraordinary capital or operational expenditures that support innovation may be eligible with sufficient explanation in the narrative. Applicants from institutions with an Administration/Grants office must include name and signature of contact person. (Criteria for Selection H). Before agreeing to accept less than full funding, carefully consider whether you can realistically complete your project with only partial funding from the Amigos Award Program.

V. Submittal
Intent to Apply: To begin the process, you must submit the intent to apply form no later than February 19, 2016. The intent to apply is available on the Amigos web site, http://www.amigos.org/node/164.

After you submit the intent to apply, Amigos staff will verify your library’s membership then you will receive a user-name and password allowing you to access to all the forms needed for the application and for electronically submitting your final proposal.

Preliminary Review:
Documents may be submitted for preliminary review no later than 5:00 p.m. CST on January 20, 2016. Preliminary review documents can be submitted electronically by e-mail or by fax.

E-mail: opportunity@amigos.org
Subject line: Amigos Fellowship and Opportunity Award Preliminary Application
Fax: 972-991-6061
Attention: Amigos Fellowship and Opportunity Award Program

Applicants are encouraged to submit a preliminary outline and budget or draft proposal for review. Preliminary review can lead to a stronger final proposal and provide a better chance for higher scoring in the final review process. Comments will be returned within three weeks. As in any competitive process, preliminary review does not guarantee final selection.

Final Submittal:
Final Project applications must be received (or post marked) no later than 5:00 p.m. CT, March 17, 2016.

Documents may be submitted electronically or they may be mailed. Documents must be submitted in Word (.doc or .docx) or PDF format. Sans serif fonts are preferred.

To submit electronically, access the Amigos Fellowship and Opportunity Award forms and electronic submission process using your user name and password (obtain logon credentials using the intent to apply online form).

The cover page must show e-mail addresses for all signatories. After you submit your forms electronically, each person whose signature is required will receive an e-mail asking them to reply to authorize the application. Authorization from your institution, e.g., your library director or dean, is also required. Applicants from institutions with an Administration/Grants office must provide the name and e-mail address of contact person. The primary applicant is responsible for notify the other signatories of the forthcoming e-mail.

To submit by mail, download copies of the forms using your user name and password (obtain logon credentials using the intent to apply online form). Send 1 (one) copy of the proposal (narrative and forms) in a flat envelope to:

Pamila Carter
Fellowship and Opportunity Award Program
Amigos Library Services
14400 Midway Road
Dallas, Texas 75244-3509

The cover page and signatures are required. Make sure your signature is affixed to the "Agreement" portion. An authorizing signature from your institution, e.g., your library director or dean, is also required. Applicants from institutions with an Administration/Grants office must include name and signature of contact person.

VI. Financial Responsibility
Final responsibility for meeting all program requirements, i.e., the Final Report as described above, lies with the Amigos member library. Failure to meet program requirements will result in the recipient being declared in default and the member library being responsible for reimbursing Amigos the Fellowship and Opportunity Award funds. Under such circumstances, Amigos reserves the right to invoice the library for repayment of the Award funds. The applicant’s library must have been an Amigos member for the previous eighteen (18) months. Recipients’ libraries must remain an Amigos member for the two (2) fiscal years following the award.

VII. Timeline
Awards will be announced at the spring 2016 Amigos Membership Meeting. Projects and Final Reports must be completed within two (2) years of the award date.

VIII. Final Report
The Final Report will be submitted to the Amigos President and Chief Executive Officer and will include a summary of project activities; a financial statement certified by the recipient’s authorized institutional representative, and a statement evaluating the success of the project. One printed copy of the Final Report and one electronic file copy in Word or compatible format will be submitted. Sans serif fonts are preferred.

Amigos will publish final project reports in the Fellowship and Opportunity Award pages on the Amigos web site.

IX. Publication and Presentation
Publication and presentations resulting from projects funded by an Amigos Fellowship and Opportunity Award must recognize Amigos funding. Amigos will provide recipients with a high resolution Amigos logo and statement to be used for acknowledgement of the Amigos funding award.

Recipients are to provide Amigos with links to any published reports or presentation files available on the web. Amigos will link to these other publications from the recipient’s final report on the Amigos web site.

X. Questions
Questions regarding process and eligibility are acceptable. Please contact:

Pamila Carter
Fellowship and Opportunity Award Program
Amigos Library Services
14400 Midway Road
Dallas, TX 75244-3509
972/851-8000; 800/843-8482, ext. 2883
Fax: 972/991-6061
E-mail: opportunity@amigos.org