For immediate release | October 26, 2020

ALA awards programming grants to help libraries address the climate change crisis

Free programming guide available to help all libraries with planning nationwide

CHICAGO — The American Library Association (ALA) announced the recipients of its Resilient Communities: Libraries Respond to Climate Change grants, 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; provide instruction and support for libraries to be centers for community education and support during extreme weather events; and offer free climate change programming resources for the library field.

Twenty-five libraries were selected to receive $1,000 programming grants to support in-person or virtual climate-related programs and activities; a small collection of documentaries/docudramas on DVD, with public performance rights; Climate Resilience Hub support, provided by Communities Responding to Extreme Weather (CREW) in coordination with ALA; and online training and support.

The grantees 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, participating libraries are encouraged to consider virtual programs or other formats that prioritize the health and safety of library staff and patrons.

Thanks to additional support from the program’s donors, an additional 51 libraries received a $500 stipend to support climate-related programs and activities that were outlined in their grant applications.

View the full list of participating libraries.

All library workers are invited to download “Resilient Communities: Libraries Respond to Climate Change: A Programming Guide for Libraries.” Created by librarians and ALA staff, the 29-page guide contains film and book recommendations, hands-on programming ideas, mindfulness exercises and other resources to aid libraries in addressing the climate crisis through programming.

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

“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.”

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

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.

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.

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