ALA, Dollar General Literacy Foundation announce 16 public libraries receiving adult literacy grants

For Immediate Release
Tue, 03/02/2021


Sarah Ostman

Communications Manager

ALA Public Programs Office

CHICAGO — The American Library Association (ALA) and Dollar General Literacy Foundation have announced 16 U.S. public libraries to receive 2021 American Dream Literacy Initiative grants, $5,000 awards to expand services for adult English language learners or adults in need of basic education and workforce development.

“Many Americans rely on their local library as a resource to improve their English language skills, study for citizenship exams and to develop workplace skills,” said ALA President Julius J. Jefferson. “ALA is proud to partner with the Dollar General Literacy Foundation to provide hundreds of libraries across the country with the opportunity to offer more of these services to their communities.”

View the 16 recipients of the 2021 American Dream Literacy Grants.

Among the projects that will be funded:

  • Siouxland Libraries (Sioux Falls, South Dakota) will expand collection development and remove barriers that English Language Learners may face when accessing their collections by hiring translators for online library services and tour guides to explain how to use library services. 
  • The Fitchburg Public Library (Fitchburg, Massachusetts) will use funds to create a Citizenship Corner for their library, a single destination for patrons seeking information on citizenship test materials as well as adult literacy and ESL materials.
  • The Lafourche Parish Public Library (Lockport, Louisiana) will offer virtual ESL classes and provide high-speed internet Wi-Fi hotspots to their ESL speakers.

The American Dream Literacy Initiative strives to develop tools and resources for libraries and library staff to provide effective literacy services to adult English language learners in their communities.

Since the program’s inception, more than 200 libraries in Dollar General communities have initiated or expanded literacy services for adult English language learners. The grants allow libraries to augment their print and digital English as a second language (ESL) collections; increase computer access and training; provide job training; hold English language learning (ELL), general educational development (GED) and citizenship classes; and raise the visibility of services for immigrant populations.

American Dream libraries build replicable programs, develop coalition-building strategies and provide annotated lists of vetted resources for libraries across the country. ALA shares the libraries’ successes and strategies through the website, on webinars, and at state, regional and national conferences.

The American Dream Literacy Initiative is made possible through the generous support of the Dollar General Literacy Foundation.

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

About Dollar General Literacy Foundation

The Dollar General Literacy Foundation is proud to support initiatives that help others improve their lives through literacy and education. Since 1993, the Foundation has awarded more than $186 million in grants to nonprofit organizations, helping more than 12 million individuals take their first steps toward literacy, a general education diploma or English proficiency. Each year, the Dollar General Literacy Foundation provides financial support to schools, nonprofit organizations and libraries within a 15-mile radius of Dollar General stores and distribution centers. To learn more about the Dollar General Literacy Foundation or apply for a literacy grant, visit