Grants and Awards

Kennedy Library actively pursues collective grant opportunities and welcomes collaborations with campus partners and the scholarly community at large. Grant activities and partnerships reinforce the library’s mission to promote open and informed inquiry, and foster collaboration and innovation.

Grants & Awards

The library is engaged across campus and around the state on a number of programs and grant-funded projects.

Software Preservation Network (SPN), IMLS Planning Grant (2015)

Kennedy Library’s Digital Archivist, Zach Vowell, together with colleagues at the University of Texas at Austin, have been awarded an Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) National Leadership Grant for their project, “The Software Preservation Network.” The $99,131 grant will fund a one-year planning and research project that has the potential to impact the continued relevance of digital objects such as 3-D architectural models, presentation slide decks, and publishing and design project files. The project will culminate in a national forum on software preservation best practices to support cultural heritage organizations.

Faculty-Staff Ally of the Year (2014)

Kennedy Library was thrilled to be honored at Lavender Commencement (2014) as Cal Poly’s Faculty-Staff Ally of the Year! It’s a very meaningful honor. We thank the Pride Center, our powerful partners, for such a generous and thoughtful recognition. This was the first year ever that the Faculty-Staff Ally of the Year Award was presented to a campus entity rather than one person.

Read more on our blog.

CSU Affordable Learning Solutions (AL$) initiative

The Kennedy Library is very pleased to announce that together with the University Store, the Center for Teaching, Learning and Technology, and the Disability Resource Center, we were recently awarded $20,000 to participate in the CSU Affordable Learning Solutions (AL$) initiative.

The AL$ initiative is sponsored by the Office of the Chancellor and supports the creation of campus partnerships to address issues of choice, affordability, and access to educational resources. This budget support provides the means for Cal Poly to embark upon a year-long campaign to raise visibility and awareness around these issues and introduce alternative models.

Throughout the 2014-2015 academic year, Kennedy Library and our AL$ partners will host events and initiate several programs designed to simplify the identification and use of open and affordable resources for faculty and students. We will also learn more about our students’ perspective on these issues, and what we can do to better support our faculty as they consider these options.

This budget support is the first funding that Cal Poly has received from the Chancellor’s Affordable Learning Solutions initiative.  We are grateful for this support and excited about the opportunity it provides to address the escalating cost of educational resources for our students and to educate our community about the alternatives.

For more information about Affordable Learning Solutions, please see

ACRL Excellence in Academic Libraries Award (2014)

In 2014, we were thrilled to be named an Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) Excellence in Academic Libraries Award Winner.

Sponsored by ACRL and YBP Library Services, the award recognizes library staff and programs that deliver exemplary services and resources to further the educational mission of the institution. ACRL awards are given out in university, college and community college categories. We were selected in the university category for our innovations in student engagement.

We are the first university library in California to receive the award since it was first given in 2000. We received $3,000 from ACRL to hold an awards ceremony, which was held spring quarter.

Innovations in student engagement

“The committee noted the level of student engagement and partnerships across campus,” said Joyce Ogburn, chair of the 2014 Excellence in Academic Libraries Committee and dean of libraries at Appalachian State University. “We were taken by the LibRATs (Library Research Assistance Technicians) program, in which highly trained students provide instruction and help other students with research. Among the library’s other innovations are development of a Data Studio to address data literacy and instigation of access to and development of open access textbooks to decrease costs for students.”

Learn by Doing education

Cal Poly President Jeffrey D. Armstrong said, “The Kennedy Library is the beating heart of Cal Poly’s Learn by Doing education and a nexus for all the disciplines that make up our comprehensive polytechnic curriculum. I am proud of the work our library staff does every day to fulfill this role, and I am thrilled at this recognition of their stellar efforts.”

John Cotton Dana Award (2012)

Kennedy Library was awarded the prestigious John Cotton Dana Award by the American Library Association (ALA) for 2013. The award is given each year to recognize “outstanding achievement in the promotion of library services.” The library was one of eight winners of a $10,000 grant.

The winning application described the library’s 2012 Banned Books Week (BBW) campaign. It included an interactive website, print design and exhibit, podcast series, student video and live interview with author and director Stephen Chbosky, which brought more than 500 students, faculty, staff and community members to Chumash Auditorium.

National Endowment for the Humanities Grant (2005)

Kennedy Library’s Special Collections Department, was awarded $249,000 from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to arrange, describe, and create electronic finding aids for their architectural archives on California architect Julia Morgan.

The 2005 award comes from the NEH division that supports projects to preserve and create intellectual access to collections that are considered highly important for research, education, and public programming in the humanities.

Partner Spotlight: California Council for the Humanities
  • Project: “With Our Own Eyes/Con Nuestros Propios Ojos”
  • Grantee/Partner: Latino Outreach Council
  • Collaborator: Special Collections, Robert E. Kennedy Library

The “With Our Own Eyes/Con Nuestros Propios Ojos” documentary photography project focused on the P’urepecha indigenous youth of San Juan Nuevo Parangaricutiro, Michoacan, Mexico, who live in the City of Paso Robles. The project provides a bi-national perspective of this community through the eyes of its youth.

The project resulted in a traveling exhibition that tours nationally, and is archived and administered through Kennedy Library’s Special Collections department.