ALA distributes $1.55 million in COVID emergency relief to 77 U.S. libraries
For Immediate Release
ALA International and Chapter Relations Offices
CHICAGO — The American Library Association (ALA) announced today grants of $20,000 to 77 libraries that continue to experience substantial economic hardship due to the coronavirus pandemic. The ALA COVID Library Relief Fund grantees are academic, correctional, public, school, and tribal libraries from 32 states and Puerto Rico. The ALA COVID Library Relief Fund is one of the largest non-federal grant opportunities for libraries.
The Calumet Public Library in Illinois serves of mostly Black and a growing Latinx population of around 7,000. Devastating budget cuts of 45% meant cutting staff, hours, and purchasing new materials and technology. The grant will increase staff hours, add WI-FI capacity, and to re-establish basic computer classes in English and Spanish for seniors in the community.
The Ak-Chin Indian Community Library in Maricopa, Arizona, has seen a 50% reduction in funding from pre-pandemic levels. This has resulted in having to cut staff hours with major impacts on youth reading and elders programs. The grant will fund two part-time program staff to open the library again on Saturdays and restore programs.
Through the grant the Media Center at Hager Elementary School, Ashland Independent School District in Kentucky, which suffered cuts of 30% and where 70% of students are eligible for free and reduced lunch, will be able to create a makerspace and grow its collections in STEM for grades K-3.
The Jackson Correctional Library in Black River Falls, Wisconsin, has had budget cuts, staffing challenges, and lost use of the local external library system during the pandemic. More than 30% of those incarcerated are Black, and minorities make up almost half of the inmate population. The library will purchase materials on sustainable resources including composting, hydroponics, aquaponics and urban land redevelopment and fund book groups and representatives from these sustainability industries to present opportunities in those fields.
The pandemic has exacerbated disparities of connectivity to access online courses and virtual academic services for low-income students who are parents at the Hudson Community College Library in Troy, New York. Budget cuts have not allowed the library to provide additional technology for these at-risk students. The grant will be used to purchase 38 hotspots with data plans for student parents.
A complete list of grant recipients and project proposals is available on ALA’s COVID Library Relief Fund webpage.
The ALA COVID Library Relief Fund is supported by Acton Family Giving as part of its ongoing response to the pandemic. "We truly appreciate the continued generous support from Acton Family Giving to help so many libraries provide needed services to traditionally underserved communities across the country,” said ALA President Patty Wong. “These grants will allow so many libraries to have a critical impact on those who depend on them during these challenging times.”
"It is an honor to help underwrite the gap-bridging efforts proposed by the ALA COVID library Relief Fund recipients," said Tracie Hall, ALA Executive Director. "This fund is part of our ongoing association-wide effort to support libraries during these still uncertain times. Understanding the fundamental role that libraries play in the health and welfare of their communities, ALA is committed to raising additional funds to sustain the educational persistence, workforce reskilling, and community recovery activity that is being funded through these grants."
ALA's Chapter Relations Office administers the ALA COVID Library Emergency Relief Fund.
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 www.ala.org.
About Acton Family Giving
Acton Family Giving supports distinct initiatives and collective efforts. Its Empathy Building Initiative, launched in 2014, partners with organizations building connections across difference and reaffirming our common humanity. This work is rooted in the belief that an empathetic society fosters stronger, healthier, and more just communities. Acton Family Giving is part of the Wildcard Giving philanthropic family.