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Grants and Awards

The Friends of the Libraries support the University of Minnesota Libraries in many ways, always aiming to help the Libraries realize their vision of providing intellectual leadership and extraordinary information experiences. A key component of an outstanding library is outstanding staff and student employees. Each year, the Friends sponsor staff development grants and outstanding library student employee awards.

2023 Staff Development Grant Award

Sponsored by the Friends of the Libraries

Think about that idea you’ve had mulling around in the back of your mind — perhaps it’s a conference you’ve heard about, a workshop that would complement the project you’re working on, or some research you’d like to do.

The Friends are providing financial support to two Libraries staff members — up to $1,000 each — for professional development that enhances their expertise and contributes to making the Libraries an even better place.

We welcome proposals that demonstrate a significant opportunity for professional enrichment but which fall outside general funding opportunities from the Libraries. The professional development activity must be completed between June 1, 2023, and June 30, 2024.


All Libraries staff who work three-quarters time (75% appointment) or more in one of the following employment categories: P&A, Civil Service, or Bargaining Unit. Applications are encouraged from those with diverse backgrounds and/or those working on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Access related projects.


Proposal Letter

Prepare a proposal letter (two pages or less) addressed to the Friends of the Libraries Awards Committee. The letter should include a one-paragraph answer to each of these questions:

  • What do you propose to do?
  • How will the professional development activity benefit you?
  • How will it benefit the Libraries?
  • How do you propose to share what you will learn?
  • Will this grant cover the cost of the activity? Please list the approximate cost of the activity and the source(s) of additional funding.


Obtain and attach a letter of recommendation from your supervisor endorsing your proposed activity.

  • Application Deadline: before 4:30 p.m. on Friday, May 5, 2023.
  • Email your proposal and letter of recommendation to: Lanaya Stangret, Events and Friends of the Libraries Coordinator •


The Friends of the Libraries Awards Committee will select two applicants who will each receive up to $1,000 to go towards professional development.

Notification of the recipients will be made by Wednesday, May 31, 2023.

The recipients will be honored at the June 2023 Library Assembly.

2023 Outstanding Library Student Employee Award

Sponsored by the Friends of the Libraries

Think about everything our student employees do for us — big or small, their contributions make a significant impact on our ability to run smoothly and provide the best services possible. 

Nominations are now open

This year we will honor three of our outstanding student employees with a $500 award!

The Friends of the Libraries wish to recognize three student employees who:

  • Provide continuous excellence of job performance (regular and consistent demonstration of superior performance in all job responsibilities).
  • Exceed regular job expectations and make unique contributions, such as exceptional actions and taking strong initiative.

Eligibility: All student employees of the Libraries are eligible, regardless of position, level of responsibility, or size of unit. Nominees from diverse backgrounds and/or those working on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Access related projects are encouraged. The student needs to be an employee at the time of nomination and award notification. The student nominees are immediately notified when nominated and must answer the question in point 2 below to be considered for the award.

Nomination process

Any staff member of the Libraries may submit a nomination from March 1 through March 22, 2023

  1. Nomination: Use the online nomination form to answer the following questions:
  • What is the nominee’s job?  (Name, title, department, and brief job description.)
  • How has this student shown continuous excellence, what is outstanding about the nominee’s job performance and how has it benefited the department?  Provide specific examples.
  • What distinguishes this student employee from others?
  1. Upon submission of your nomination, student nominees are immediately notified and will be asked to answer the following question to be considered for the award. This response is required and will be a significant factor of the committee’s evaluation of the application:

In 300 words or less describe how your work as a student employee in the U Libraries has impacted your academic and/or personal experience as a student, and/or your future plans for what you will do after you graduate.

  1. Nomination Due before 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Selection: The Friends of the Libraries Awards Committee will select three student employees who will each receive a $500 award.

Notification of the recipients will be made by April 21, 2023.

Complete the nomination form

2019 Staff Development Grant Award Recipients

Sponsored by the Friends of the Libraries

NOTE: Staff awards will resume in 2023.

Emily Beck
Assistant Curator Wangensteen Historical Library of Biology and Medicine

Emily will attend and present at the 2020 annual meeting and expo of the American Alliance of Museums in San Francisco. In addition to professional development, she hopes to position the Wangensteen’s exhibit space in the new Health Sciences Education Center and gain knowledge of best practices, innovative techniques, and ideal equipment to use in programming the new exhibit space. She will present on her project “Alcohol’s Empire.”

Yao Chen
Librarian for East Asian Studies, Linguistics, and ESL

Yao will attend the 5th Sino-American Academic Library Forum on Cooperation and Development and also the Beijing International Book Fair. The two events will provide exposure to new ideas and perspectives on librarianship, establish connections with librarians in China, and explore Chinese publishing trends as well as the newest and most important publications in the field of Chinese studies.

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Contact Information

Lanaya Stangret
309 19th Ave. S.
499 Wilson Library
Minneapolis, MN 55455

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