Metropolitan College of New York (N.Y.) and Sara Hightower Regional Library System (Ga.) Awarded ALA’s Libraries Transform Communities Engagement Grant

For Immediate Release
Thu, 04/14/2022


Hannah Arata

Communications Specialist

Public Programs Office

American Library Association

CHICAGO  — The American Library Association (ALA) has awarded its third Libraries Transform Communities Engagement Grant to the Metropolitan College of New York (N.Y.) and the Sara Hightower Regional Library System (Ga.).

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 grants support community engagement projects with a specific theme; the 2022 Libraries Transform Communities Engagement Grant applicants focused on a social justice issue of importance in their communities.

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

The Metropolitan College of New York (MCNY) will use the grant to support the Black Maternal Health Initiative, a project for MCNY students to develop and implement an awareness and advocacy campaign around the Black maternal health crises. The project will take a strategic approach to student and community engagement with intentional programming and partnerships with local public health researchers and advocates for Black maternal health, specifically in the Bronx community. Programming will include roundtable discussions and a hybrid interactive exhibit. The project will culminate in a live digital resource collection that will make available lessons learned through the project and provide a space to share educational materials on an ongoing basis.

Georgia’s Sara Hightower Regional Library System will create a resource pamphlet and website to share important information for re-entering citizens. Coming Home: Essential Resources for Re-Entering Citizens will be distributed throughout the library system that serves Floyd, Polk, and Chattooga Counties The pamphlet will also be shared with local government and community organizations. In addition, the library will work with the Georgia Justice Project to provide speakers to educate formerly incarcerated people and the Georgia Legal Service Project to provide free one-on-one lawyer sessions at the library. The project will create a much-needed resource that will eventually be shared through the Georgia Public Library Service to distribute the pamphlet template to libraries throughout the state.

“The Libraries Transform Communities Engagement Grant committee was excited by the quality and range of community-driven social justice program proposals from libraries across the United States,” said Caitlin Archer-Helke, committee chair and interim library director at Saint Xavier University’s Stump Library. “Sara Hightower Regional Library’s innovative work with reentering citizens and MCNY’s community-driven Bronx Black Maternal Health Crisis project are vital projects that will continue to serve their communities for years to come. They are programs that can be adapted to serve other communities facing similar issues throughout the United States and abroad.”

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 highly impressed by the Metropolitan College of New York and the Sara Hightower Regional Library System for their continued commitment to their communities during such challenging times,” stated Nancy Kranich. “My congratulations go to both libraries, chosen from a pool of many outstanding proposals, all of which reflect my own passion for transforming communities.”

Last year’s Libraries Transform Communities Engagement Grant was awarded to the Albany (N.Y.) Public Library for its Branching Out program, a community initiative that aims to uplift local Black voices in music and art. The 2020 award went to Milwaukee (Wis.) Public Library for their Deaf Storyslam, a free community event in which Deaf individuals of varying backgrounds 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 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