For immediate release | September 29, 2015

ALA congratulates the National Endowment for the Humanities on its 50th anniversary

CHICAGO — The American Library Association (ALA) congratulates the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), one of the largest funders of humanities programming in the United States, on its 50th anniversary.

“As institutions that champion lifelong learning for all people, libraries benefit every day from NEH’s outstanding work,” said ALA President Sari Feldman. “ALA is extremely grateful to NEH for providing our communities with much-needed opportunities to connect, inspire curiosity, and learn about our shared histories.”

Founded on Sept. 29, 1965, NEH promotes excellence in the humanities and conveys the lessons of history to all Americans by awarding grants for top-rated proposals to cultural institutions such as libraries, museums, archives and colleges and universities.

“Libraries have been one of our most important recipients of NEH funding,” said NEH Chairman William Adams. “Libraries are one of the great humanities institutions of our country.”

Through millions of dollars in funding for libraries, NEH has made possible numerous ALA public programming initiatives over the years. (For more on 50 years of NEH grants, visit Current programs include:

  • Latino Americans: 500 Years of History supports the exploration of the rich and varied history and experiences of Latinos, who have helped shape the United States over the last five centuries and who have become, with more than 50 million people, the country’s largest minority group. Programming is currently underway at 203 libraries, museums, humanities councils and other sites nationwide.
  • The Great Stories Club gives at-risk, troubled youth the opportunity to read, reflect and share ideas on topics that resonate with them. The program has reached 670 libraries in 49 states, serving more than 3,000 young adults since 2006. (Applications are now being accepted at
  • Dust, Drought, and Dreams Gone Dry explores the causes and consequences of the Dust Bowl through oral histories, essays, letters and photographs. The traveling exhibition is on tour to 25 libraries nationwide.
  • Muslim Journeys shares with the public diverse perspectives on the people, places, histories, beliefs, practices and cultures of Muslims in the United States and around the world.

In June 2015, ALA passed a resolution honoring NEH for its 50th-anniversary milestone, citing the Endowment’s seeding of ALA’s Cultural Communities Fund, its advancement of the Let’s Talk about It model for scholar-led discussion programs; and benefits to libraries and library patrons nationwide.

About the National Endowment for the Humanities

Celebrating its 50th anniversary as an independent federal agency in 2015, National Endowment for the Humanities brings the best in humanities research, public programs, education, and preservation projects to the American people. To date, NEH has awarded $5 billion in grants to build the nation’s cultural capital — at museums, libraries, colleges and universities, archives, and historical societies—and advance our understanding and appreciation of history, literature, philosophy, and language. Learn more at

About the American Library Association

The American Library Association is the oldest and largest library association in the world, with approximately 55,000 members in academic, public, school, government and special libraries. The mission of the American Library Association is to provide leadership for the development, promotion and improvement of library and information services and the profession of librarianship in order to enhance learning and ensure access to information for all.


Sarah Ostman

Communications Manager

ALA Public Programs Office