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 2019 Catalyst Fund opens on January 7, 2019, and we are now seeking reviewers to evaluate submissions.

About the Catalyst Fund

The Catalyst Fund is a $100,000 award program to test and try new ideas and projects by LYRASIS members. 2019 applications will be due by February 20th and we will review them between mid-March and early April. That is where we hope you can help!

We accept two different kinds of applications to the Catalyst Fund:

  • Proposals, in which an institution requests funds to pilot a project, and
  • Ideas, in which individuals at Member institutions submit ideas that they believe will benefit the field which they recommend LYRASIS address. In this case, the institution submitting the idea is not obligated to do the work; instead, LYRASIS will implement a project in support of the Idea if selected.

Both Proposals and Ideas are reviewed by field experts to rate them against the Catalyst Fund  criteria. Each Proposal and Idea is evaluated by multiple reviewers. The combined ratings from all reviewers are then used to rank Proposals and Ideas for the Leaders Circle. Only the top 10-20% of ranked Proposals and Ideas are sent to the Leaders Circle, which then votes to determine what will be funded.

About Reviewers

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. To avoid any conflict of interest, however, volunteers will not be asked or allowed to review if their own institution submits an Idea or Proposal to the 2019 Catalyst Fund.

Reviewer Responsibilities 

Each reviewer will receive 6-10 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.

During the last week of February 2019, 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 or Ideas, a link to the online review form, instructions and review criteria. Based on the 2018 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. Both sessions are optional.

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.

We hope you’ll consider being part of this process in 2019. If you have questions, contact us at And feel free to share this with your colleagues!

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