A good grant proposal such as the one outlined below clearly identifies a
goal and the means to achieve it. There are four main types of activities that
can be featured in a preservation proposal: production, through which a group
of research materials will be preserved; research, where the final project
product is to be of value to the larger preservation community; education and
training, which involves education/training provided by or to the applicant;
capital support, whereby a library is able to upgrade the quality of its storage
facilities. In preparation for the proposal, the library/archive collection
must be thoroughly examined for significance and surveyed for the particular
type of preservation envisioned. Title duplications should be checked, patterns
of use verified, preservation strategies developed, and costs and time requirements
stated. The proposal must establish a production schedule and describe evaluation
and accountability systems.
A preservation proposal is a collaborative effort, involving some or all of
the following: curator/director responsible for the collection, preservation
administrator, preservation/conservation specialist, subject specialist (especially
where language skills are needed), public service staff, and cataloguing staff.
This team determines the type of information needed for the proposal, assigns
responsibilities, establishes a timetable, and decides on a single final editor
for the proposal document, usually the principal investigator. The principal
investigator is either the preservation administrator or the curator (sometimes
joint investigators are used). The team must meet regularly during development
of the proposal to monitor progress and check the main thrust of the proposal.
Funding agencies sometimes provide an application form for the applicant to
fill in, but most private foundations rely on the applicant to produce a persuasive
argument for funding. The following outline ensures that most of the information
likely to be needed is provided in a consistent way.
Summary of the proposal
This is usually a quick, one-paragraph overview of the entire project.
Description of the library or archive
This section should describe the library/archive, indicate the readers/researchers
served by it, and outline the size of its staff and collection. This is an
opportunity to stress the importance of the library/archive to the community
and the role it plays in supporting research and/or popular education. You
may wish to include as an appendix any printed brochure that carries a more
Commitment to preservation
Describe any prior and ongoing preservation activities, and any participation
in cooperative or regional preservation activities. An applicant should list
major structural improvements likely to preserve the life of the collection,
describe any special preservation training the staff may have received, international
and regional conferences and training programs attended, and any special
consultants that have provided guidance (include a copy of the consultant's
report as another appendix). If the library/archive is a member of a preservation
consortium, it should be described at this point.
Accessibility of the collection
Describe the access policies of the library (for example, who may use it and
hours of availability). Provide details on cataloguing or other bibliographic
control. If the catalogue is electronic and linked with other libraries,
this could be an advantage. If there are definite plans to convert the catalogue
to electronic form, it should be stated here.
Description of materials to be preserved
Describe the type and significance of the materials to be preserved. Materials
would normally be described as books, manuscripts, prints, maps, drawings,
or a mix of these. This section could include letters of endorsement by prominent
researchers in a separate appendix.
Plan of work
The project timetable (when it will start and when it will finish) should be
provided in as much detail as possible. Typically, a large project should
not take longer than three years. The preservation activities should be described
in some detail, along with the rationale for the particular approach chosen.
The staff and/or vendors involved in the project should be listed, along
with their experience (include curriculum vitae for the senior participants
as a separate appendix). Environmental conditions under which the preserved
materials will be stored and used should be explained, including any future
plans to enhance conditions. Describe the institution's disaster response
plans and security safeguards.
Institutional contributions toward the project
This should mention projected contributions of staff time and any financial
contributions by the institution (include funding acquired from other funding
sources). The contributions by staff should be expressed in terms of percentage
of time to be dedicated to the project (for example, preservation administrator
20 percent, conservation technician 100 percent). If the institution is to
receive a partial contribution toward the project from a private donor or
the government, it should be described here. In general, the applicant is
advised to show from 20 to 40 percent of the total project cost as institutional
contribution. The funding agency must see that you are serious about the
importance of the project by committing institutional staff time and effort.
Describe how the funds requested will be spent over the term of the project.
Show how you arrived at your budget request figures. If you surveyed the
collection and decided on a unit cost, include a copy of the survey as another
appendix. If you are working through a vendor or you need to purchase special
equipment, you should list price quotations in a separate appendix.
The budget should detail how the funds are to be expended over the life of
the project, that is, how they will be distributed over each year. Typical
budget categories are salaries and employee benefits (for library staff),
purchased or vendor services, supplies and materials (for any in-house work
on the project), large equipment (typically costing more than $1,000), and
other expenses (such as travel or meeting support).