For immediate release | December 20, 2018

50 public libraries selected for American Creed: Community Conversations programming grants

The American Library Association (ALA), in partnership with Citizen Film and the National Writing Project, has announced 50 U.S. public libraries selected to take part in American Creed: Community Conversations, a grant program that will invite audiences to consider what America’s ideals and identity ought to be through screenings of, and conversations about, the PBS documentary American Creed.

American Creed with David M. Kennedy and Condoleezza Rice is an omnibus of stories about activists in different parts of the country who bring communities together to confront deepening divides. Selected libraries will host community screenings of the film, complemented by additional programming. They represent a wide range of rural, urban and suburban communities in 25 states.

  • Scranton (Pa.) Public Library will collaborate with facilitators from the University of Scranton to host a “political dialogue,” inviting community members to listen and share their views on what it means to be American. The library will also integrate American Creed’s themes into an existing book club, which will read Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine.

  • Marshall-Lyon County (Minn.) Library will host a panel discussion about being an American farmer. Hosted by a representative of Southwest Minnesota State University’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion, the conversation will look at the tradition of farmers helping one another during harvest times; how weather and ties to the land affect one’s perception of oneself as American; and how migrant, seasonal and processing plant workers can have a seat at the table.

  • Denver (Colo.) Public Library will partner with the nonprofit contemporary art center RedLine to offer a series of programs inspired by American Creed. In addition to a film screening and scholar-led discussion, the library will collaborate with artists to use the visual arts as a vehicle to discuss the themes of the film.

View the full list of American Creed: Community Conversations grantees.

Participating libraries will receive a projection-ready download of American Creed, with public performance rights; DVDs for their circulating collections; marketing and facilitation resources; materials, training and support; and a $300 stipend for conversation facilitation by an eligible public humanities scholar, or access to a National Writing Project representative to serve as moderator. Grantees were selected through a competitive, peer-reviewed application process.

In the documentary, civic entrepreneur Eric Liu, founder Joan Blades, Tea Party Patriots co-founder Mark Meckler, baseball manager Joe Maddon and other citizen-activists take action in surprising ways to realize their ideas of a unifying American creed. Their stories are contextualized by a recurring narrative device: a community conversation with a diverse group of millennials, co-led by the renowned historian David M. Kennedy, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author of bestselling books about American history and identity; and his Stanford University colleague, the political scientist and 66th U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Fully acknowledging their differences in political outlook, Kennedy and Rice explore "the fragility of America’s unifying ideals and identity." They interpret different kinds of American activism and model the exemplary, respectful dialogue the American Creed: Community Conversations initiative seeks to foster.

American Creed: Community Conversations is supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities. Engagement of public libraries around the country is administered by ALA’s Public Programs Office. Additional opportunities to hold facilitated community or classroom screenings of American Creed are also available, administered by the National Writing Project and Citizen Film.

Watch an extended trailer for the American Creed documentary online and learn more about its stories, discussion guides and educator resources at

Produced by Citizen Film’s Sam Ball and Kate Stilley Steiner, American Creed is a co-production of Citizen Film and WTTW Chicago Public Media. The documentary’s senior executive producer and writer is Randy Bean. The executive producer is Dan Soles. American Creed is written and directed by Sam Ball.

To be notified about future grant opportunities from ALA’s Public Programs Office, sign up for ALA’s Programming Librarian e-newsletter.

About the American Library Association

The American Library Association (ALA) is the foremost national organization providing resources to inspire library and information professionals to transform their communities through essential programs and services. For more than 140 years, the ALA has been the trusted voice for academic, public, school, government and special libraries, advocating for the profession and the library’s role in enhancing learning and ensuring access to information for all. For more information, visit

About Citizen Film

Citizen Film is a nonprofit production company that employs collaborative documentary storytelling and story sharing to engage communities in dialogue about important problems and inspire active participation in solutions. Citizen Film’s collaborations with independent filmmakers, grassroots organizations and civic institutions have been featured at America’s most prestigious venues (the Sundance Film Festival, MoMA-NY, LACMA, the Hirshhorn, the Whitney and more) and presented on television (PBS, HBO, IFC, TLC, Arte, etc.). For more information, visit

About the National Writing Project

The National Writing Project (NWP) focuses the knowledge, expertise and leadership of our nation's educators on sustained efforts to help youth become successful writers and learners across the curriculum, pre-K through university. Working as a network of local Writing Project sites supported by nearly 185 university and college campuses, NWP provides high-quality professional learning in schools, universities, libraries, museums and after-school programs. Through its programs and partnerships, the organization reaches 1.4 million Pre-K through college-age students in over 3,000 school districts annually. NWP envisions a future where every person is an accomplished writer, engaged learner and active participant in a digital, interconnected world.

About the National Endowment for the Humanities

Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation. Additional information about the National Endowment for the Humanities and its grant programs is available at:


Sarah Ostman

Communications Manager

ALA Public Programs Office