For immediate release | January 4, 2011

ALA announces 30 libraries to receive Louisa May Alcott library outreach grants

CHICAGO – The American Library Association (ALA) Public Programs Office and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) announced that 30 libraries will receive $2,500 grants to support five reading, viewing and discussion programs featuring the documentary “Louisa May Alcott: The Woman Behind Little Women” and the companion biography of the same name.

The library outreach program for “Louisa May Alcott: The Woman Behind Little Women,” a collaboration among NEH, the ALA Public Programs Office and Nancy Porter and Harriet Reisen for Filmmakers Collaborative, has been designated as part of NEH’s We the People initiative, exploring significant events and themes in our nation’s history and culture and advancing knowledge of the principles that define America. Funding was provided by a major grant from NEH to the ALA Public Programs Office.

The selected libraries, listed in alphabetical order by state, are:

  1. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library, San Jose State University, San Jose, Calif.
  2. Oceanside Public Library, Oceanside, Calif.
  3. Poudre River Public Library District, Fort Collins, Colo.
  4. Broward County Library, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
  5. Atlanta-Fulton Public Library, Atlanta.
  6. Berry College Memorial Library, Mount Berry, Ga.
  7. University of Idaho Library, Moscow, Idaho
  8. Milner Library, Illinois State University, Normal, Ill.
  9. Rooney Library, Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College, Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Ind.
  10. Drake Community Library, Grinnell, Iowa
  11. Western Kentucky University Libraries, Bowling Green, Ky.
  12. Hingham Public Library, Hingham, Mass.
  13. Rochester Hills Public Library, Rochester, Mich.
  14. Mid-Continent Public Library, Independence, Mo.
  15. Wayne Public Library, Wayne, N.J.
  16. Octavia Fellin Public Library, Gallup, N.M.
  17. Oneida Public Library, Oneida, N.Y.
  18. University at Buffalo Libraries, Buffalo, N.Y.
  19. New Hanover County Public Library, Wilmington, N.C.
  20. Sandusky Library, Sandusky, Ohio
  21. Noble Public Library, Noble, Okla.
  22. Multnomah County Library, Portland, Ore.
  23. Elizabethtown Public Library, Elizabethtown, Pa.
  24. Snowden Library, Lycoming College, Williamsport, Pa.
  25. Providence Public Library, Providence, R.I.
  26. Ned R. McWherter Library, University of Memphis, Memphis, Tenn.
  27. Austin Public Library, Austin, Texas
  28. Orem Public Library, Orem, Utah
  29. Brownell Library, Essex Junction, Vt.
  30. Raynor Memorial Libraries, Marquette University, Milwaukee, Wis.

Louisa May Alcott is recognized around the world for her novel "Little Women," but Alcott is scarcely known as the bold, compelling woman who secretly wrote sensational thrillers, lived at the center of the Transcendentalist and Abolitionist movements and served as a Civil War army nurse. The film, biography and library programs will re-introduce audiences to Alcott by presenting a story full of fresh insights, startling discoveries about the author and a new understanding of American culture during her lifetime. The 30 selected libraries will present five reading, viewing and discussion programs focused on Alcott, her body of work and her era. Libraries will enlist a lead project scholar with expertise in 19th-century American history or literature to help present and plan programs. For more information, visit

The ALA Public Programs Office promotes cultural and community programming as an essential part of library service in all types and sizes of libraries. Successful library programming initiatives have included “Let’s Talk About It” reading and discussion series, traveling exhibitions, film discussion programs, the Great Stories CLUB, Live! @ your library and more. Recently, the ALA Public Programs Office developed, an online resource center bringing librarians timely and valuable information to support them in the creation of high-quality cultural programs for their communities. For more information on the ALA Public Programs Office, visit

Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports learning in history, literature, philosophy and other areas of the humanities. NEH grants enrich classroom learning, create and preserve knowledge and bring ideas to life through public television, radio, new technologies, exhibitions and programs in libraries, museums and other community places. Additional information about the National Endowment for the Humanities and its grant programs is available at


Angela Thullen