For immediate release | March 6, 2024

ALA announces applications for second year of the Building Library Capacity Grants

CHICAGO — The American Library Association (ALA) announces the opening of the second year of the ALA Building Library Capacity Grants that will provide grants to libraries serving incarcerated persons or assisting those re-entering society. Up to sixteen $10,000 grants will be given to successful applicants nationwide. The application site is open now. The application deadline is April 12, 2024, with awards announced at the end of May.

There will be a virtual grant information session on Tuesday, March 19 at 3 p.m. Central Time.

According to the Prison Policy Initiative, nearly 2 million individuals were incarcerated in 2023 in the United States- in prisons, jails, juvenile correctional centers, and other detention institutions. Research shows that increasing the literacy rates and strengthening the library and information access opportunities for detained and formerly detained individuals often correlates to successful rehabilitation and reentry.

The grants are intended to bolster library operations and services including literacy and other skill development, developing collections, staffing, expanding outreach, as well as maintaining and amplifying existing service strategies or adding new ones to make an impact.

“The American Library Association is committed to library access for everyone, especially for those whose access is too often unfairly restricted. These grants directly contribute to our mission,” said ALA President Emily Drabinski, “ALA truly appreciates the generous support and long-standing commitment of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to assist under resourced libraries serving underserved or marginalized communities post-pandemic.”

The grant is open to 1) libraries already serving incarcerated persons or services to those re-entering society, or 2) those who would like to use the grant to begin serving incarcerated persons or starting services for those re-entering society. It is open for both libraries in carceral institutions and those outside carceral institutions.

The ALA Building Library Capacity Grants are supported through a three-year grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Each year focuses on helping add capacity to different segments of the library community.

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 145 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 the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation is the nation's largest supporter of the arts and humanities. Since 1969, the Foundation has been guided by its core belief that the humanities and arts are essential to human understanding. The Foundation believes that the arts and humanities are where we express our complex humanity and that everyone deserves the beauty, transcendence, and freedom that can be found there. Through our grants, we seek to build just communities enriched by meaning and empowered by critical thinking, where ideas and imagination can thrive.


Michael Dowling


Chapter Relations Office