For immediate release | December 1, 2020

ALA invites applications for Libraries Transform Communities Engagement Grant

CHICAGO — The American Library Association (ALA) invites library workers to apply for the Libraries Transform Communities Engagement Grant, an annual award supporting innovative and meaningful community engagement efforts in libraries.

Applications will be accepted between Dec. 1, 2020, and Feb. 5, 2021. View the full award guidelines and apply online at

The Libraries Transform Communities Engagement Grant recognizes, promotes and supports innovative and meaningful community engagement efforts in libraries. It provides $2,000 for a school, public, academic, tribal or special library to expand its community engagement efforts.

Libraries are invited to apply by designing and outlining activities for a library-led community engagement project. Community engagement is the process of working collaboratively with community members – be they library patrons, residents, faculty, students, or local organizations – to address issues for the betterment of the community.

Each year, the grant will focus on supporting a community engagement project with a specific theme. For the 2020–2021 cycle, libraries are invited to submit applications for a community engagement project that focuses on anti-racism. The grant will be awarded to a library with a demonstrated commitment to anti-racism work to continue or expand their community engagement programming. Visit the grant guidelines for resources on anti-racist theory and practices.

Project activities to be covered by the grant may include developing community engagement programs and services; partnering with a community agency that builds the capacity of the community to address an important concern/issue; or creating a program or event that connects the library to a community-identified aspiration or concern.

ALA announced the creation of the Libraries Transform Communities Engagement Grant in 2019, raising a total of $70,000 from 130 individuals. The initiative was made possible by a matching grant from former ALA president and longtime generous supporter Nancy Kranich.

The inaugural grant was won by Milwaukee Public Library for the Wisconsin Deaf Storyslam, a free community event in which Deaf individuals of varying backgrounds shared personal stories and experiences with the broader community.

The Libraries Transform Communities Engagement Grant is part of Libraries Transforming Communities (LTC), ALA’s community engagement initiative. Since 2014, LTC has reimagined the role libraries play in supporting communities. Libraries of all types, from across the country, have utilized the free dialogue and deliberation training and resources to lead community and campus forums; take part in anti-violence activities; provide a safe space for residents to come together to discuss challenging topics; and have productive conversations with civic leaders, library trustees and staff.

LTC is administered by ALA’s Public Programs Office. To stay informed about future grants and awards offered by ALA’s Public Programs Office, sign up for the 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


Sarah Ostman

Communications Manager

ALA Public Programs Office