Fast Forward Libraries LLC was founded by Illinois librarian Amanda Standerfer to help libraries have greater impact in the communities they serve through capacity building and strategic planning.  Amanda is especially passionate about small, rural public libraries in Illinois - the place many people turn to for connection, learning, and information.  Truly, these libraries are the hearts of the communities they serve! 

Part of the mission of Fast Forward Libraries is to make it easier for Board and staff members at small, rural public libraries to learn and grow through professional development and continuing education.  It can be difficult for these public library staff and Board members to find the time and funds for capacity building activities, so Amanda would like to help!

Fast Forward Libraries is offering 4 scholarships of $500 each to offset the cost of attending the 2022 Illinois Library Association Annual Conference.  The conference registration fee will be paid directly to ILA ($275) with the remaining balance given to the library to offset travel and hotel costs ($225).

-The applicant's library must be a public library member of RAILS or IHLS.
-The applicant's library must serve a population of less than 8,000 people in a rural area.  Preference is given to libraries serving under 5,000 people in a rural area.  (What's considered rural?  There are many definitions of "rural," but we like the map on page 5 of this website from the US Economic Research Service.  Not sure if your library is rural?  Ask us!)
-The staff member applying must be a paid staff member.  If the staff member applying is not the Library Director, a brief email of support from the Library Director is required (emailed to
-Board members may also apply.
-Preference is given to Board/staff members who have never attended the ILA Annual Conference and have not received a scholarship in the past.
-Only one scholarship per library will be given.

The person seeking the scholarship to attend the 2022 ILA Annual Conference should complete the following application.  Applications are due at 11:59 p.m. CT on Monday, August 29, 2022.  A small committee familiar with rural Illinois public libraries will review the applications and recommend scholarships to Fast Forward Libraries.  Applicants selected for the scholarship will be contacted by Friday, September 9. 

Recipient and affiliated library names may be used in publicity related to the scholarship.

Questions?  Please contact Amanda at

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* 1. Applicant information:

If the applicant is a library staff member other than the Library Director, a brief email of support from the Library Director is required.  Please send the email of support to  The email of support must be received by the application deadline.

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* 2. Library System:

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* 3. Total population served:

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* 4. Why would you like to attend the ILA Conference? (3-6 sentences)

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* 5. Have you ever attended an ILA Conference?

Questions?  Please contact

Thank you for your application!