Administered by ALA’s Public Programs Office, in partnership with 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, 200 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 the outset, 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.