For immediate release | July 1, 2020

Libraries invited to apply for ALA’s ‘Resilient Communities: Libraries Respond to Climate Change’

New programming grant seeks to propel climate change action in libraries across the United States

CHICAGO — The American Library Association (ALA) invites library workers to apply to be part of Resilient Communities: Libraries Respond to Climate Change, a pilot program to help public and academic libraries engage their communities in programs and conversations that address the climate change crisis.

The project will fund in-person and virtual film screenings, community dialogues and related events based on local interest in 25 public and academic libraries, and it will provide instruction and support for the libraries to be centers for community education and support during extreme weather events.

Learn more about Resilient Communities and apply online. Applications will be accepted from July 1 to August 28, 2020. Participating libraries will be selected through a peer-reviewed, competitive application process managed by ALA’s Public Programs Office.

Selected libraries will receive:

Participating libraries will collaborate with a community partner organization to host three public programs in 2020-2021 that focus on climate change science, sustainability, emergency weather preparedness, environmental justice or related subjects.

Given safety and restrictions around in-person programming due to COVID-19, ALA encourages applicants to consider virtual programs or other formats that prioritize the health and safety of library staff and patrons. Read the project guidelines for details and resources for planning virtual programs.

Project advising for Resilient Communities is provided by representatives of ALA’s Sustainability Round Table, a professional forum for ALA members to exchange ideas and opportunities regarding sustainability in order to move toward a more equitable, healthy and economically viable society. If you wish to discuss a potential application one-on-one with a Resilient Communities advisor, please email to make arrangements. (Project advisors will not serve on the application review committee.)

A free programming guide about in-person and virtual climate change programming will be available on ALA’s Programming Librarian website for all libraries in fall 2020. Sign up for ALA’s Programming Librarian newsletter to be notified when the guide is available.

Through Resilient Communities, ALA strives to:

  • Raise awareness and provide accurate information about the climate change crisis to the public through libraries
  • Designate libraries as CREW-certified Climate Resilience Hubs, positioning them to provide ongoing public education and community support during extreme weather events
  • Engage library staff in local partnerships and environmental justice efforts that emphasize bottom-up organizing, shared community leadership, and the centering of those most impacted by climate change, particularly communities of color and underserved communities
  • Create space in libraries for communities to engage in conversation, mobilize for the initiation of sustainability policies and practices, and foster more resilient communities
  • Identify and document relevant, replicable programming models for future national distribution

The pilot project has been funded by a generous grant from Andrew and Carol Phelps, the parents of two library master’s students.

“We feel a moral obligation to take action, and we believe libraries and librarians are ideal partners to accomplish the work ahead. We wholeheartedly support libraries as centers for lifelong learning and innovation, which is needed now more than ever,” said Carol Phelps. “We are eager to get factual information about the climate crisis out to the public before it becomes too late, and to help create space in libraries for communities to mobilize for change.”

Launching 18 months after ALA adopted sustainability as a core value of librarianship, this project seeks to advance practices and policies that are environmentally sound, economically just and socially equitable.

“This is a pivotal time for libraries and the communities we serve,” then-ALA President Loida Garcia-Febo said after the ALA Council voted to adopt sustainability as a core value in January 2019. “Libraries are helping to better the education and the lifelong learning of the communities they serve. By adding sustainability to its core values, ALA is recognizing that libraries of all types can act as catalysts and inspire future generations to reach solutions that are not only sensible but essential to sustaining life on this planet.”

To expand the scope of the Resilient Communities: Libraries Respond to Climate Change program, ALA invites additional contributions of any size. Donate now.

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


Sarah Ostman

Communications Manager

ALA Public Programs Office