The purpose of this grant opportunity is to offset a portion of the costs for starting up regional online access to local newspapers. The Massachusetts Library System (MLS) will be providing temporary grant funding to encourage and support regional access.

This is a two-year program with $75,000 available in fiscal year 2014 and $50,000 available in fiscal year 2015. Funds will be distributed as available based on the number of requests received and the overall cost of the individual projects.  The project must include plans for the project to become entirely self-funded by year three.


Library groups and institutions within the state of Massachusetts are eligible to apply. The applicant must be a member of the Massachusetts Library System. Awards can be made to institutions, but no administrative (overhead, indirect) costs are covered. Funds will be solely allocated to the cost of the newspaper database contracts.  Projects with the widest access will receive preference.  Projects for individual libraries are ineligible.

If the library group wishes to use MLS’ resources for billing at the individual library level, a 5% administrative fee will be deducted from the total amount to cover MLS costs.

Proposal or Letter of Intent accepted

Proposal required information:

1. Cover Page
The first page should contain:

  • Title of the newspaper database(s) for procurement
  • Name of library group or institution
  • Address of library group or institution
  • Amount requested

2. Description of Project
The description should include a description of which newspapers will be available and to what geographic region and which libraries and/or end users. Additional information should include:

  • Usage statistics if available, whether current or historic
  • Analysis of library interest

3. Budget
Budget information should include the following:

  • Cost proposal from the vendor for the newspapers.
  • Estimated funds to be provided by the library group and a description of how those funds will be raised. List sources of support you expect to receive.  Describe how self-funding will be possible in year three.
  • Description of the model for payment to the vendor.

Letter of Intent, required information:

  1. Names of libraries or institutions involved
  2. Description of newspapers and the vendor involved
  3. Estimated cost (if known) – dollar value or range
  4. Estimated library commitment (if known) – dollar value or range
  5. Timeframe for completing formal proposal


Proposals and Letters of Intent must be received by the Mass Library System by September 1. Questions or electronic submissions should be sent to