Libraries Transform Communities: Engagement Grant

Libraries Transform Communities Engagement Grant: A grant offering of the American Library Association

Date Posted: December 2, 2019

Deadline for Submission: February 3, 2020 by 11:59 pm (CST)

Award Notification Date: April 15, 2020

Please Note: Due to the ongoing pandemic, the award notification date has been delayed until May 1, 2020.

Apply online via Google Forms


Please read the grant description and carefully review the requirements in each category before applying.

Contact the American Library Association (ALA) Public Programs Office staff at 1-800-545-2433, ext. 5045, or

Table of Contents

  1. Grant Description
  2. Award Information
  3. Eligibility
  4. Requirements
  5. Application and Submission Information
  6. Application Review
  7. Award Administration Information
  8. Points of Contact

Grant Description

The Libraries Transform Communities Engagement Grant is an annual grant to recognize, promote and support innovative and meaningful community engagement efforts in libraries. Community engagement is the process of working collaboratively with community members – be they library patrons, residents, faculty, students or local organizations – to address issues for the betterment of the community.

The intent of the grant is to provide support for a school, public, academic, tribal or special library to expand their community engagement efforts. Libraries are invited to apply by designing and outlining activities for a library-led community engagement project. Proposed projects should focus on creating innovative and meaningful community engagement efforts.

Project activities may include:

  • Developing direct/sustained/innovative community engagement programs and services
  • Partnering with a community agency/organization/department that builds the capacity of the community to address an important concern/issue
  • Executing an innovative community engagement program
  • Creating a program or event that connects the library to a community-identified aspiration or concern
  • Creating and publishing educational or promotional materials for the greater library community and/or presenting an innovative/model program at conferences

Award Information

One library will be selected to receive $2,000 in order to advance its community engagement efforts. The grant period may be one to two years in length.


  • This opportunity is open to school, public, academic, tribal and special libraries in the U.S. and U.S. territories
  • Applying libraries must evidence a demonstrated commitment to community engagement work
  • The library must hold an ALA institutional membership OR the project director must be an ALA member
  • Individuals are not eligible for funding
  • Late, incomplete and ineligible applications will not be reviewed


The selected library makes the following commitments:

  • Appoint one staff member as the project director of the project
  • Carry out evaluation and measure outcomes of the project
  • Submit any significant variance to proposed plans in writing to ALA
  • Submit a comprehensive final report to ALA with project accomplishments, evaluation findings, outcomes and use of funds within 30 days of the project end date
  • Present the project either as a webinar or program model for, a website of ALA’s Public Programs Office

Application and Submission Information

ALA will accept applications for the Libraries Transform Communities Engagement Grant between December 2, 2019, and February 3, 2020.

Getting Started

To submit an application, complete the Google Form.

To apply for the Libraries Transform Communities Engagement grant, you must complete the following steps:


1. Complete Project Director Information

To complete Step 1, provide all the information that is requested on the Project Director Information screen, including:

  • Project Director Name
  • Project Director Title and Organization
  • Project Director Contact Information
  • Institution Type
  • Community Type
  • Population Size
  • Number of FTE Staff

2. Write the Narrative

Before you compose the narrative part of this application, we strongly recommend that you read these guidelines carefully. If you do not, your application is unlikely to be competitive. Please note that each narrative may not exceed 500 words.

  1. Library’s Community Engagement History
    • This award is intented to help libraries expand and deepen their community engagement efforts. Describe your library’s history with community engagement and what you hope to achieve as a next step and how this project will help you with that vision for your work.
  2. Project Description
    • Describe your proposed project and provide details of how the community will be involved.
  3. Community Description
    • Describe the community at the heart/nexus/focus of your proposed project, including demographics. Be sure to provide context of the library service population if different and discuss the benefits the community may receive from the proposed project, as well as how you feel the opportunity fits into the vision for your work.
  4. Community Impact
    • How do you think the proposed project will contribute or show leadership in response to these issues or challenges? Describe some of the key issues or challenges that people in your library’s community are facing.
  5. Evaluation Plan
    • Describe your evaluation plan for the project. How will you include evaluation and performance measurement? (For help creating an outcomes based evaluation plan, please refer to the Institute for Museum and Library Services and the Public Library Association's Project Outcome tool.)

3. Upload Supporting Materials

  • Upload Letters of Support
    • Two letters of support for your application are required. Directly upload letters of support for your application. Limit four letters of support.
  • Upload Attachments
    • Attachments may include, but are not limited to:
      • Photographs
      • PowerPoint slides 
      • Posters
      • Newsletter articles
      • Program flyers

4. Certify Authorization to Submit Application

An application for the Libraries Transform Communities Engagement Grant is an application for a grant from the ALA. ALA is required by law to ask applicants to identify for each application a certifying official who is authorized to submit applications on behalf of the organization. To complete this section, you must enter all of the information that is requested.

5. Review and Edit Your Application

6. Submit Your Application

Once you have completed all parts of your application, you may submit it at any time by selecting the Submit button. All applications must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. CST on February 3, 2020. Applications submitted after that time will be considered ineligible.

Note that once you have submitted your application, you can no longer alter it. You will receive an e-mail confirming submission of your application. The application will then be submitted for committee review. 

Application Review

Applications will be evaluated according to the following criteria:

  • Evidence that the library has a demonstrated commitment to community engagement work
  • The coherence of the application and the overall impression it gives of the library being able to carry out the project effectively
  • Excellence, appeal and innovation of the proposed project
  • Interest, involvement and awareness of community members, leaders and organizations, as evidenced by letters of support for the proposed project
  • Demonstration of relevance of the proposed project to the community and the issue(s) or challenges it seeks to address
  • Potential for replicability of the proposed project

Applicants are encouraged to address questions about the selection guidelines, process and requirements to the ALA Public Programs Office at 1-800-545-2433, ext. 5045, or

Review and Selection Process

Each application will be assessed and selected by Libraries Transform Communities Engagement grant committee. The committee consists of a chair and four ALA members appointed by the Public and Cultural Programs Advisory Committee (PCPAC).

Award Administration Information

  • Application deadline: February 3, 2020 11:59 pm (CST)
  • Award notification: April 15, 2020
  • Award distributed: May 1, 2020
  • Earliest Project Start Date: May 1, 2020
  • Project End Date: May 3, 2021 OR May 2, 2022
  • Final Report Due: Within 30 days of project completion

Points of Contact

If you have questions about the grant, contact:

Public Programs Office

American Library Association

1-800-545-2433, ext. 5045