The Singer Group Helping Communities Come Together Award

The Singer Group logo

Presented by the Public Library Association and The Singer Group. To submit an application for this award, please visit the PLA Awards Online Application.

Purpose and Criteria

The Helping Communities Come Together Award, sponsored by The Singer Group, recognizes a public library’s ability to identify community needs specifically in times of crisis and division, and respond in creative and exemplary ways. This focus allows libraries to nominate themselves or others for recognition when a library helped a community through broad and diverse challenges. Challenges may be community specific, or the result of national events that strain communities. These can include divisive political events such as elections or political scandals; community violence such as mass shootings or ongoing hostility; divisions between racial, ethnic or other groups; weather-related disasters such as floods, fires or storms; and more.

The winner of this award will receive a check in the amount of $1,000 and a plaque.


Public libraries of any size or serving any community type are eligible for this award, with one exception: Public libraries having employees on the current Helping Communities Come Together Award jury are ineligible to receive this award. Applicants should identify if they are applying to recognize a specific library building/branch or a library system, either of which is permitted. Nominations may be submitted by community partners, such as city/county managers or other government officials. The award will be presented at the ALA Annual Conference. You must agree to allow PLA to publicize your program if it is selected as the winner.

2020 Recipient

Flint (MI) Public Library

Past Recipients

  • 2019 Sonoma County (CA) Library
  • 2018 Peoria (IL) Public Library

Selection Criteria

Candidates must complete the online application form, describing the public library's achievement in identifying and responding effectively to a community crisis or challenge that occurred within the last 12 months. Applications will be reviewed in part on the following criteria:

  • Extend of the collaborative efforts between the library staff and the larger community in the planning and implementation;
  • Measurements of success;
  • Lessons learned to either prevent or better address similar situations in the future;
  • How other libraries might learn from the applicant library’s experience, if faced with similar situations; and
  • Quality of the materials submitted in terms of telling the community’s story and highlighting the library’s contribution to the crisis or situation.

How to Apply

To submit an application for this award, please visit the PLA Awards Online Application.

PLA will forward the applications to the current chair of the Helping Communities Come Together Award Jury. PLA reserves the right to extend the application deadline.