The American Dream Literacy Initiative

The American Dream Literacy Initiative

The American Library Association (ALA) and Dollar General Literacy Foundation offer annual grants to U.S. public libraries to expand services for adult English language learners or adults in need of basic education and workforce development. Grants of $10,000 each are awarded annually.

Public libraries are eligible if they serve adult English language learners and are located within 20 miles of a Dollar General Store, distribution center or corporate office. Visit the Dollar General Store Locator.

Applications for the 2018 grants are now closed. Please check back for information about the 2019 American Dream Literacy Initiative. If you wish to be updated when the 2019 grant period opens, please sign up for ALA's Programming Librarian e-newsletter.

2018 American Dream Libraries

Twenty libraries received funding for the sixth round of the American Dream Literacy Initiative grant, generously funded by the Dollar General Literacy FoundationLearn more about the 2018 American Dream Libraries.


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, 188 libraries in Dollar General communities have initiated or expanded literacy services for adult English language learners.

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

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.

Additional Resources


ALA Public Programs Office
50 E. Huron Street
Chicago, Illinois 60611-2795
(312) 280-5045
Fax: 312-280-5759

This initiative is made possible by: 

Dollar General Literacy Foundation logo