ALA Building Library Capacity Grantees 2023


The ALA Building Library Capacity Grants are intended to bolster library operations and services in libraries that had experienced cuts in staffing and or services as a result of the challenges of the pandemic.  The ALA Building Library Capacity Grants are supported through a three-year grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.  

The grants can be used to broaden technology access, develop collections, provide digital instruction, increase staffing, and expand outreach, or maintaining or amplifying other existing service strategies or adding new ones.  Each year will focus on helping add capacity to different libraries, especially those serving marginalized or underrepresented segments of the community. Academic libraries at Minority Serving Institutions (MSI) were designated for grant in 2023.  

Tracie D. Hall, ALA Executive Director notes “It has been our observation that MSI libraries are often called to support first-generation college students and students who have to navigate substantial obstacles to graduation with limited budgets and human resources. ALA intends these grants to be catalytic – helping jumpstart or expand new programs, services, or even staffing models. Since the pandemic, data has shown that students in general, and BIPOC and low-income students in particular, need a greater array of supports in order to remain matriculated and to graduate from college. ALA wants to ensure that these academic libraries have access to additional funding that can increase their responsiveness.” 

17 Libraries below received $10,000 grants for activities through 2023.  (The 2024 grant application will be announced in February 2024) 


California State University, Fresno (CA) 

A 2022 an internal survey found the library was the resource that stood out in helping them transition back to in-person learning. With large Hispanic (57%) and Asian (12%) student populations budget cuts of 13% have made it difficult to expand resources in areas where there is a need. With the grant, the library will be able to purchase new resources to support the growing Asian American Studies program. The library will meet with Asian American Student groups and faculty to select resources and to foster strong partnerships with the Hmong Student Association, Lao Student Association, Amerasia Student Association, Magkasia Fresno State, and others. (ANNAPISI, HSI) 


California State University-Stanislaus (CA) 

The Stockton satellite campus of CSU-Stanislaus is the only four-year public university in the city of Stockton and serves over 1,000 students, the majority who are Hispanic, first-generation considered non-traditional with 50% over 25 years old and working. The library has long struggled for space, resources and staffing over the years. The grant will upgrade technology in the group study room and add furniture, including individual study pods to create needed quiet spaces.  The library will also purchase books written by diverse authors of different ethnic backgrounds and identities. (HSI) 


Atlanta University Center Robert W. Woodruff Library (GA) 

The Robert W. Woodruff Library provides diverse services for over 8,000 students and 1,200 faculty members from consortium members Clark Atlanta University, Interdenominational Theological Center, Morehouse College, and Spelman College. Costs during the pandemic for safety and communications have resulted in a depleted budget for new technologies. With classes, including history and chemistry now introducing virtual reality (VR) in their curriculum to explore the Underground Railroad or help to understand abstract chemical concept, the library will create a new VR Room to support the teaching, research, and scholarship across disciplines. (HBCU) 


Savannah State University (GA) 

Before the March 2020 pandemic closure, the Asa H. Gordon Library was open 73 hours per week and had four librarians and six staff members, serving a student population of 3,688. Due to staffing cuts of 62% the library is only open 48 hours a week to serve 2,759 students. As the oldest public HBCU in Georgia, the library has been prioritizing student-focused services like library and information literacy instruction, reference, online and hybrid workshops, and making the library a comfortable study place. With the grant the library will be able to redesign its digital presence, including its website and research guides, to better meet and support student’s online resource needs. (HBCU) 


Chicago State University (IL) 

During the pandemic, the on-campus bookstore closed permanently and the Course Reserves collection, which had always been a voluntary non-budgeted area ceased in-person service as the library had no collection budget for three years. The Course Reserves collections give students short-term access to textbooks, DVDs, and other course reading materials made available by their instructor. Course reserves are especially valuable to students who may not be able to afford to buy all the resources. The grant will help the library to restart its Course Reserve collection with a new scanner and book purchases. (PBI) 


Indiana University-Northwest (IN) 

Located in Gary, IU-Northwest has 3,000 primarily non-traditional students at its all-commuter campus, the library has been a home base for studying, eating, and meeting place. It also serves the local community as the closest public library branch closed during the pandemic. Close to 30% of Gary residents do not have internet access. Until now, due to lack of funds, the library has been unable to add a second, much needed, technology equipped collaborative space for students. The grant will be used to create this space, and to offer interactive gaming opportunities at the soon to be re-opened café on-site. (HIS) 


Xavier University of Louisiana (LA) 

Thirty-one percent of freshman at Xavier are the first in their family to attend college. Budget constraints have kept the library from being able to provide laptops for incoming first-year students who are not able to afford one to fully participate in interactive hands-on instruction in the Information Literacy Lab.  With shared laptops from the grant students will be able to learn about resources available through the library. (HBCU) 


Jackson State University (MS) 

As the only urban university in the state, embedded in an economically disadvantaged minority community, students struggled during the pandemic, cut off from in person engagement among faculty and staff which initiated a period of stagnation in research activity and utilization of library resources. The grant will engage juniors and seniors from across disciplines to prepare them for current and future graduate level research opportunities. Students will received publication guides, access to writing software programs and other digital aids, and staff support in the development of research proposals. (HBCU) 


Blackfeet Community College (MT)  

BCC students and faculty rely on the Spring Medicine Library, the only academic library within one hundred miles of campus. The library closed for fourteen months during the pandemic and had its collection budget cut, impacting not only the three hundred students but everyone on the Blackfeet Reservation. The grant will allow the library to update its collection, specifically for six degree programs- health sciences, environmental science, behavioral health, psychology, social work, and business management. (TCU) 


Essex County College (NJ) 

As a result of the pandemic, the college has suffered a decrease in enrollment as the majority of the student body is made up of lower income (48% Black and 27% Hispanic) populations challenged to stay in academia. The revenue losses have led to cuts in the library, including 60% of staff. The library now finds itself working to rebuild and provide for student needs. The grant will expand Information and Digital Competency instruction through courses and hands-on in-library workshops. In addition to opportunities for skill development, funds will expand and diversify the collection. (HSI, PBI) 


Bronx Community College (NY) 

Home to a diverse student body, with 54% identifying as Hispanic, and 37% Black, the library was forced to cut 50% of its staff in 2020, making daily operations difficult. Staffing is still far below 2019 levels and the library continues to operate at reduced hours, is working hard to engage students who now operate in a more virtual environment. The library will leverage the grant to connect with students beyond classes to continue BCC Reads: One Book, One College, One Community. With a budget decrease and loss of staffing, coming together on this project allows collaboration across college departments and helps increase the morale of students, faculty, and staff. (HSI) 


Mercy College (NY) 

Designated as a Hispanic Serving Institution, over 75% of the student body identifies as from a minority population. The college has many low-income, first-generation students, and experienced a significant decline in enrollment during the pandemic. The library’s budget has been cut by 20%. The grant will help build a more diverse, inclusive physical collection to make crucial topics more accessible, and expand the resource choices for faculty in courses and assignments. (HSI) 


New York City College of Technology (NY) 

City Tech is a 100% commuter college of over 13,000 students in downtown Brooklyn. The library is not only for registered college students but also high school students from seven hundred schools that can take classes for college credit. The student population declined 23% during the pandemic and cuts to the library have reduced hours by 25%. Reduced hours are hardest for part-time students and faculty, who visit campus infrequently and who work during the day and attend evening and weekend classes. The library will address technology gaps by providing access to audio production and listening equipment which may not be available to students elsewhere. (AANAPISI & HSI) 


Blue Mountain Community College (OR) 

The community college and library BMCC serve 1,200 students in rural eastern Oregon and is designated as Hispanic Serving Institution with over 27% of students identify as Hispanic/Latinx. Thirty-eight percent of BMCC students self-identify as low income. With the grant the library will create a significant expansion of library services through the development of a Library and Tutoring Center at its Hermistan location. It will create new collections, primarily Spanish language, and the purchase furniture to create group and individual study spaces for a more welcoming, inclusive atmosphere. (HSI) 


Cheyney University (PA) 

Serving seven hundred students, the L.P. Hill Library was doubly hit during the pandemic, experiencing a flood that closed the library damaging technology and resources, and the retrenchment of staff and the loss of its budget. The library only re-opened on January 30, 2023, with one librarian. Among the losses in the flood were iMac computers that were heavily used by students and faculty to create their innovative projects and assignments. With the grant five brand new iMacs will be purchased. (HBCU) 


LeMoyne-Owen College (TN) 

Situated in the heart of Southern Memphis, the library provides services and support for students plus faculty and staff. The challenges of the pandemic and a 15% cut to the library budget has delayed transitioning the main floor into a Learning Commons. The grant will be help restart the effort to modernize the space with new media stations, charging towers, modular benches, and electronic signage. (HBCU) 


Hampton University’s (VA)  

Hampton University has limited spaces on campus which can for collaboration, research, projects, or audiovisual needs. As a Historically Black College or University (HBCU), funding was limited during COVID. The William R. and Norma B. Harvey Library, like the rest of the university, had to cut its budget during this unprecedented time. The grant will create two new multimedia spaces in the library for small group collaborative learning.  This will enhance technology access to students and the overall university community.  (HBCU)



Minority Serving Institution Designations 

Asian American Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institutions (ANNAPISIs) 

Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian Serving Institutions (ANNHs) 

Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCUs) 

Hispanic Serving institutions (HSIs) 

Native American-Serving Non-Tribal Institutions (NASNTIs) 

Predominantly Black Institutions (PBIs) 

Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs)