The American Dream Literacy Initiative

The American Dream Starts @ your library - photo from Bentonville, AR

Round Five of American Dream

With a generous grant from the Dollar General Literacy Foundation, the American Library Association (ALA) and its Office for Diversity, Literacy and Outreach Services (ODLOS) is launching the fifth round of American Dream grants to public libraries to expand services to adult English language learners.

To be eligible for funding, the applicant institution must be a public library serving adult English language learners and must be within 20 miles of a Dollar General Store, distribution center or corporate office. For Round five of the program, ALA will offer tailored categories of funding—one-time $5,000 seed grants for libraries in rural and other small communities to develop their collections and services for immigrants and one-time $10,000 grants for libraries with the experience and capacity to expand existing programs, add services and foster community partnerships. The application will launch in October 2016, and the program year will begin in January 2017.

DEADLINE EXTENDED: Now Accepting Applications

The online application form is now open; applications for the fifth round of funding has been extended; new applications will be accepted through 11:59pm ET on November 30, 2016. 

American Dream Display photo

About the American Dream Literacy Initiative

Administered by ALA’s Office for Diversity, Literacy, and Outreach Services and funded by the Dollar General Literacy Foundation, the American Dream Literacy Initiative is an adult literacy program based in public libraries throughout the U.S. To date, more than 150 libraries in Dollar General communities have initiated or expanded literacy services for adult English language learners. The grants allow libraries to augment their print and digital ESL collections; increase computer access and training; provide job training; hold ELL, GED, and citizenship classes; and raise the visibility of services for immigrant populations. As part of the initiative, American Dream libraries build replicable programs, develop coalition-building strategies, and provide annotated lists of vetted resources for libraries across the country. ALA shares the libraries’ successes and strategies through our website, on webinars, and at state, regional, and national conferences. Through library-delivered services and community partnerships, the program serves thousands of English language learners and their families.

From its inception in 2007, the program has had a goal of developing tools and resources for libraries and library staff to provide effective literacy services to adult English language learners in their communities and across the country. Libraries are among America’s most democratic institutions—places of equitable access to education, information, and lifelong learning that strengthen communities and help create a more literate and just society. Libraries are also among the first institutions immigrants turn to for help with accessing and using technology and with learning how to read and write in English.

The most recent cohort of twenty-two grantee libraries marked the program’s fourth round, which ran from the end of 2014 through the beginning of 2016.

View the list of 2014 American Dream libraries

Additional Resources


ALA Office for Diversity, Literacy and Outreach Services
50 E. Huron Street
Chicago, Illinois 60611-2795
(800) 545-2433 ext. 4297
Fax: 312-280-3256

This initiative is made possible by: 

Dollar General Literacy Foundation logo