American Dream Literacy Initiative

About the American Dream Literacy Initiative Administered by ALA’s Office for Diversity, Literacy, and Outreach Services and funded by the Dollar General Literacy Foundation, the American Dream Literacy Initiative is an adult literacy program based in public libraries throughout the U.S. To date, more than 185 libraries in Dollar General communities have initiated or expanded literacy services for adult English language learners. The grants allow libraries to augment their print and digital ESL collections; increase computer access and training; provide job training; hold ELL, GED, and citizenship classes; and raise the visibility of services for immigrant populations. 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 our 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.

Administered by:

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Award and Frequency

This award is given out on an annual basis.


To be eligible for funding, the applicant institution must be a public library serving adult English language learners and must be within 20 miles of a Dollar General Store, distribution center or corporate office.

Application Instructions

The online application system will be available in October.
Checklist of materials submitted online
  • Completed Library Information, Project Information, and Project Budget and Justification
  • Letters of support from two or more community partners, Letters should include the organization's fiscal and in-kind contributions to the proposed American Dream project. (In the online application, these are uploaded at the end of the Project Information section.)

Contact Information

Selection Criteria

Grantees make the following commitments: 

Spending and Reporting 

  • Spend or allocate grant funds within 180 days of receipt. 
  • Submit an online interim report and budget updates to ALA, per the deadline in the Memorandum of Understanding. 
  • Submit a comprehensive final report to ALA with project accomplishments and impact, use of funds, and a detailed resource list, per the deadline in the Memorandum of Understanding. 
  • Submit any requests for budget variances or extensions in writing, using the templates provided by ALA. 

Collaboration and Sustainability 

  • Participate in one or more 60-minute project assessment and impact evaluation conference call(s)/webinar(s).
  • Develop a post-project sustainability plan to help your library continue programs and services for adult English language learners. 

Information Sharing and Marketing 

  • Participate in a media training and develop a communications plan for your project 
  • Contribute print and online resources for the American Dream toolkit and website, including a step-by-step process of how your library developed and implemented the program(s). 
  • Promote the American Dream Literacy Initiative, including the ALA logo and the Dollar General logo. 
  • Inform local and statewide library networks about the ALA/Dollar General grant and your specific project. Inform your local Dollar General store about the ALA grant and your project.