Are you a critical thinker interested in contributing to innovation within the library, archives and museum communities? If so, please consider sharing your knowledge, expertise and experience by reviewing applications to the Catalyst Fund. The application cycle for the 2020 Catalyst Fund opens shortly and we are now seeking reviewers to evaluate submissions.

About the Catalyst Fund

The Catalyst Fund is an award program to test and try new ideas and projects by LYRASIS members. Any LYRASIS Member organization is encouraged to apply for funding. The 2020 applications will be due by February 20, 2020 and we will review them between mid-March and early April. That is where we hope you can help!

Become A Reviewer

Reviewers are critical commentators on what would be valuable to the community. We are looking for librarians, archivists and museum professionals working in diverse areas, such as accessibility, assessment, collections management, community outreach and programming, facilities, metadata, open content, open source software, preservation, professional training, and technology. Individuals from LYRASIS member and non-member organizations may volunteer

Please note: to avoid any conflict of interest, volunteers will not be allowed to review if their own institution submits an Idea or Proposal to the 2020 Catalyst Fund.

Reviewer Responsibilities 

Each reviewer will receive 5-6 Proposals or Ideas to review depending upon how many applications are submitted to the Catalyst Fund. The applications are not long – only 2 pages each – and will be sent to you in PDF format via email.

After the Catalyst Fund application closes on February 20, 2020, LYRASIS will contact you to check your availability during the anticipated review period. If confirmed, everything a reviewer needs will be included in a follow-up email package – your assigned Proposals, a link to the online review form, instructions and review criteria. Based on the 2019 review process, we expect that it will take you approximately 20-30 minutes per application.

Reviewers will:

  • Read the Proposal/Idea,
  • Review it against the relevant criteria,
  • Give a numeric rating of one (does not meet the criteria) to six (meets the criteria very well), and
  • Add brief comments for the applicant (one to two sentences suggesting strengths or weaknesses).

We will have an online session in early March to go over the review process and another in April/May, which will be a discussion of overall rankings and any issues that emerged during the review process. The session is optional and it will be recorded for later reference.

After proposals and ideas are reviewed, the top applications will be voted on by participants in the LYRASIS Leaders Circle and winners will be announced in early June. LYRASIS will share reviewers’ comments anonymously with individual applicants, but not ratings or the overall reviewer rankings.

What Reviewers Say?

“The LYRASIS Catalyst Fund is an excellent opportunity for your organization, be it an archive, library or museum to create, explore or innovate.  Look for a project that will collaborate with another cultural heritage organization that might create new digital content or build on existing content, that might bring together shared communities, or that might explore new opportunities for community engagement.  The Catalyst Fund over the past several years has provide its awardees with the opportunity to reach new heights.” – Liz Bishoff, The Bishoff Group LLC, 2017-2018 Catalyst Fund Reviewer

“It’s a great opportunity to review innovative projects and to help advance the most transformative ones!” —Jodi Allison-Bunnell, AB Consulting, 2018 Catalyst Fund Reviewer

“Acting as a reviewer, gives me an opportunity to see first-hand innovation in libraries. I love that I get to support these innovators.”—Lisa Holmberg, Boulder Public Library, 2017- 2018 Catalyst Fund Reviewer

We hope you’ll consider being part of this process in 2020. Click to sign up.

If you have questions, contact us at And feel free to share this with your colleagues!