Dollar General Literacy Foundation commits $400,000 to two national library grant programs

For Immediate Release
Wed, 07/15/2020


Sarah Ostman

Communications Manager

ALA Public Programs Office

CHICAGO — The Dollar General Literacy Foundation has renewed its commitment to the American Library Association (ALA) with two $200,000 contributions in support of national programs to benefit school and public libraries nationwide.

The funding will sustain two library grant initiatives: the American Association of School Librarians’ Beyond Words: The Dollar General School Library Relief Fund and ALA’s American Dream Literacy Initiative. Both initiatives offer funding to individual libraries nationwide that need resources to overcome obstacles or address community needs.

Since 2006, the Dollar General Literacy Foundation has given more than $2.7 million to AASL’s Beyond Words to support rebuilding school libraries impacted by disaster. More than 205 schools across the country have received Beyond Words grants since the program began.

Created in collaboration with ALA, AASL and the National Education Association (NEA), Beyond Words supports public school libraries nationwide that have suffered materials losses because of a major disaster ranging from hurricanes, tornados, flood, earthquakes, fires or an act of terrorism. Funds can be used to replace or supplement books, media and/or library equipment within school libraries and can also be used to offset costs by those schools that have opened their doors to significant numbers of new students displaced by disaster.

In addition, the program features a comprehensive website devoted to disaster preparedness with resources and a toolkit to help school librarians prepare for and deal with natural disasters and terrorist acts. The application, toolkit and eligibility requirements can be found at

Recipients of the last round of Beyond Words grants included:

  • Webber Falls Public School, Webber Falls, Oklahoma ($20,000)
  • East Lee County High School, Lehigh Acres, Florida ($10,000)
  • Boley Elementary, West Monroe, Louisiana ($20,000)
  • Bluford STEM Academy, Greensboro, North Carolina ($15,000)
  • Jinks Middle School, Panama City, Florida ($20,000)
  • Princeville Elementary, Tarboro, North Carolina ($20,000)
  • Alto ISD, Alto, Texas ($15,000)
  • Cerro Gordo Elementary School, Cerro Gordo, North Carolina ($15,000)
  • Fernway Elementary School, Shaker Heights, Ohio ($20,000)
  • HM Carroll Elementary, Houston, Texas ($5,000)
  • Tyronza Elementary School, Tyronza, Arkansas ($15,000)

Since 2008, ALA’s American Dream Literacy Initiative has offered grants to more than 200 U.S. public libraries to expand services for adult English language learners or adults in need of basic education and workforce development. With these grants, libraries have developed new courses, expanded their print and digital collections, increased access to technology, implemented new strategies for inclusion, and developed sustainable partnerships with organizations across their communities.

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 the project 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.

Recipients of the last round of American Dream Literacy Initiative grants included:

  • Alachua County Library District, Gainesville, Florida
  • Atlantic City Free Public Library, Atlantic City, New Jersey
  • Blanchard Community Library, Santa Paula, California
  • Blount County Public Library, Maryville, Tennessee
  • Chester County Library & District Center, Exton, Pennsylvania
  • Delta County Public Libraries, Hotchkiss, Colorado
  • Fryeburg Public Library, Fryeburg, Maine
  • Gila Bend Library, Gila Bend, Arizona
  • Greenwood County Library, Greenwood, South Carolina
  • Hewlett-Woodmere Public Library, Hewlett, New York
  • Kansas City Public Library, Kansas City, Missouri
  • La Vista Public Library, La Vista, Nebraska
  • Montgomery-Floyd Regional Library, Christiansburg, Virginia
  • Socastee Library, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
  • Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library, Tampa, Florida
  • Terrebonne Parish Library System, Houma, Louisiana

The American Dream Literacy Initiative is administered by ALA’s Office for Diversity, Literacy and Outreach Services (ODLOS) and Public Programs Office. 

About the American Association of School Librarians

The American Association of School Librarians,, a division of the American Library Association (ALA), empowers leaders to transform teaching and learning.

About the American Library Association

The American Library Association (ALA) is the foremost national organization providing resources to inspire library and information professionals to transform their communities through essential programs and services. For more than 140 years, the ALA has been the trusted voice for academic, public, school, government and special libraries, advocating for the profession and the library’s role in enhancing learning and ensuring access to information for all. For more information, visit

About the Dollar General Literacy Foundation

The Dollar General Literacy Foundation is proud to support initiatives that help others improve their lives through literacy and education. Since 1993, the Foundation has awarded more than $182 million in grants to nonprofit organizations, helping more than 11 million individuals take their first steps toward literacy, a general education diploma or English proficiency. To learn more about the Dollar General Literacy Foundation, visit