ALA opens application for Libraries Build Business grants

For Immediate Release
Thu, 11/21/2019

Contact:

Shawnda Hines

Asst. Director, Communications

Public Policy and Advocacy Office

American Library Association

(202) 628-8410

shines@alawash.org

Application deadline set for December 13, 2019

WASHINGTON, DC - Today the American Library Association opened applications for Libraries Build Business grants, with support from Google.org, to build out library programs that equip entrepreneurs to launch and grow small businesses. Announced in October 2019, the $2 million grant from Google.org will provide funding to 10-14 U.S. public libraries to further develop existing entrepreneurship programs geared toward low-income and/or underrepresented entrepreneurs. This grant - made as part of the tech company’s Grow with Google initiative to create opportunity to all - will also create learning resources for any library to support entrepreneurs in its community.

“ALA is excited about Libraries Build Business because equity is at the heart of libraries’ mission,” said ALA President Wanda Brown. “We have always connected people with resources, ideas and support, but this new initiative focuses on strengthening those connections for people who often lack access to support elsewhere. Libraries are social hubs where great minds come together. Libraries Build Business is based on the principle that anyone who has a great business idea should have access to the tools and skills they need to pursue it, regardless of their income or ethnicity.”

Florian Maganza, Senior Program Manager at Google.org added that “libraries are often the first stop for aspiring entrepreneurs and small business owners in their community. They are on the frontlines of ensuring that everyone has a place to turn to if they need access to free resources or training to start and grow their business. Google.org is proud to support their entrepreneurship centers across the country through this new initiative.”

Nearly half of the more than 16,000 public libraries in the U.S. provide free services for entrepreneurs, from offering access to market trends databases to hosting business coaching classes and, in some cases, providing seed capital through business plan competitions.

The core objective of Libraries Build Business is to identify library-led entrepreneurship models that will best help low-income and/or underrepresented entrepreneurs to start and grow small businesses. The initiative aims to provide direct services to 15,000 people over the course of 18 months, during which the cohort of 10-14 libraries will also develop:

  1. A framework to evaluate their success;
  2. A ‘playbook’ based on initiative learnings that will be accessible to all libraries; and
  3. A peer-learning network to disseminate the findings and encourage adoption or customization by other libraries.

In Part One of the two-stage selection process, libraries will indicate their eligibility and interest in the program by completing a short application form. After an initial screening, a pool of libraries will be invited to complete a full application. A selection committee will review invited applicants and select the cohort libraries. The selection committee will be comprised of representatives from the Public Library Association, the ALA Public Policy and Advocacy Office, and the ALA Office for Diversity, Literacy and Outreach Services. Successful applicants have a documented commitment to and history of providing robust programming and services to low-income and underrepresented groups in their community.

“Libraries Build Business is not only about bringing opportunity to individual entrepreneurs but also to the communities they come from,” said Brown. “The more diverse our pool of entrepreneurs, the more our communities benefit from innovation.”

Interested library staff must complete part one of the two-stage application process by Friday, December 13, 2019, 11:59 p.m. eastern time. The application form, along with detailed eligibility requirements and selection criteria, is available at http://www.ala.org/advocacy/workforce/grant.

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About ALA
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 ala.org. 

About Google.org
Google.org connects nonprofit innovators with Google resources to solve complex human challenges, and ensure that everyone can participate in the digital economy.

The same technology that makes our lives easier every day can also help solve some of the world’s largest problems. That’s why we’re applying advanced technology to some of our greatest challenges, like using artificial intelligence to help predict natural disasters. Everyone should be able to participate in the digital economy, so we’re providing digital skills training for job seekers, supporting online safety and media literacy, and investing in computer science education for students — particularly in underrepresented communities. We know that the best answers often come from those closest to the problem. That’s why we join forces with nonprofit innovators, committing Google volunteers, technology, and over $200 million in grants every year to help scale their impact. To learn more about Google.org, please visit www.google.org

About Grow with Google
Launched in 2017, Grow with Google is an initiative to help create economic opportunities for all Americans and draws on a 20-year history of building products, platforms, and services that help people and businesses grow. Grow with Google aims to help everyone across America—those who make up the workforce of today and the students who will drive the workforce of tomorrow—access the best of Google’s training and tools to grow their skills, careers, and businesses. Learn more at grow.google.