For immediate release | April 15, 2024

Hoboken (NJ) Public Library and Independence (KS) Public Library Awarded ALA’s Libraries Transform Communities Engagement Grant

CHICAGO — The American Library Association (ALA) has awarded its fifth Libraries Transform Communities Engagement Grant to the Hoboken (NJ) Public Library and the Independence (KS) Public Library. The winning libraries will bolster their initiatives aimed at promoting food security and addressing homelessness within their communities.

The $2,000 annual grant assists school, public, academic, tribal and special libraries in initiating or enhancing community engagement endeavors. Each year, these grants facilitate community engagement projects centered around a particular theme. In 2024, libraries submitted proposals concentrated on "community empowerment.”

The Libraries Transform Communities Engagement Grant is made possible by former ALA president and longtime generous supporter Nancy Kranich, supplemented by donors to ALA’s Cultural Communities Fund. The grant selection committee comprises a chair and four ALA members appointed by ALA's Public and Cultural Programs Advisory Committee (PCPAC).

“Hoboken Public Library and Independence Public Library have exemplified outstanding programs that empower their communities,” stated Nancy Kranich. “My congratulations go to both libraries, chosen from a competitive group of impressive proposals that reflect my ongoing passion for libraries transforming communities. I’m proud to support such promising and innovative projects.”

Hoboken Public Library will use the grant to initiate a Homelessness Advisory Group, a monthly program that empowers unhoused patrons by collaborating with them to provide essential and responsive tools and resources. The program will feature a series of workshops covering mental wellness, first aid/CPR/Naloxone training, outdoor survival skills, tenant education, workplace readiness and financial literacy.

Independence Public Library will use the grant to continue its Eat, Play, Read initiative, which aims to combat food insecurity. This program empowers individuals with the knowledge and tools necessary to make informed decisions about their nutritional intake. With grant funding, the library will supplement the initiative by providing fresh produce grown in the library’s STEAM Garden, which will be upgraded with ADA-compliant planters and safe barriers.

“Hoboken’s efforts to center and work with unhoused patrons in the community, and Independence’s work with a range of community partners to manage their own food resources, are both standout initiatives,” said Elaine Tai, committee chair and supervising librarian at Berkeley (Calif.) Public Library. “These projects exemplify the ways libraries can work with and empower the people they serve.”

Support future Libraries Transform Communities Engagement Grants by contributing to ALA’s Cultural Communities Fund.

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 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.


Hannah Arata

Communications Specialist

American Library Association

Public Programs Office