For immediate release | April 14, 2021

Albany (N.Y.) Public Library awarded ALA’s Libraries Transform Communities Engagement Grant

CHICAGO — The American Library Association (ALA) has awarded its second Libraries Transform Communities Engagement Grant to the Albany (N.Y.) Public Library for their Branching Out program, a community initiative that aims to uplift local Black voices in music and art.

The $2,000 grant is open to school, public, academic, tribal or special libraries to help them expand upon community engagement efforts. Each year, the grant supports a community engagement project with a specific theme; the 2021 Libraries Transform Communities Engagement Grant focused on anti-racist community engagement work.

The award was made possible by a matching grant from former ALA president and longtime generous supporter Nancy Kranich and donors to ALA’s Cultural Communities Fund.

The Albany Public Library will use the grant to help fund a lineup of local musicians and poets performing live for audiences outdoors and online this summer. The performers will also provide virtual educational programs for patrons. Library branches will program additional anti-racist programming in conjunction with the Branching Out performances.

“The selection committee was impressed by the quality of the anti-racist program proposals from libraries all over the country,” said Crystal Schimpf, the committee chair and Senior Consultant for Public Library Leadership Development at the Colorado State Library. “The Albany Public Library’s Branching Out program shows their dedication to empowering and elevating local Black voices through the arts. It is a community engagement project that we believe will generate a positive and lasting outcome for the city.”

ALA invites further contributions to the Cultural Communities Fund to support future Libraries Transform Communities Engagement Grants. To donate online, visit ALA’s online giving platform. Click “Add a tribute or memorial to my donation” and specify “LTCEG” to designate your donation.

“I’m delighted that ALA will fund this notable program,” stated Nancy Kranich. “Congratulations go to the Albany Public Library, chosen from a pool of many outstanding proposals, all of which reflect my own passion for transforming communities during such challenging times."

Last year’s inaugural Libraries Transform Communities Engagement Grant was awarded to the Milwaukee (Wis.) Public Library for its Deaf Storyslam, a free community event in which Deaf individuals share personal stories and experiences with the broader community.

The grant committee consists of a chair and four ALA members appointed by the Public and Cultural Programs Advisory Committee (PCPAC).

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 ALA Public Programs Office

The American Library Association (ALA) Public Programs Office empowers libraries to create vibrant hubs of learning, conversation and connection in communities of all types.

About Libraries Transforming Communities

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. Learn more at LTC is administered by ALA’s Public Programs Office.

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



Hannah Arata

Communications Associate

ALA Public Programs Office