ALA Announces Building Library Capacity Fund Grants for Minority Serving Institutions

For Immediate Release
Mon, 04/17/2023


Michael Dowling


Chapter Relations Office

CHICAGO — The American Library Association (ALA) announces the opening of the ALA Building Library Capacity Grants that will provide grants to assist libraries at Minority Serving Institutions (MSI) across the United States and US Territories that have experienced economic hardship due the consequences of the pandemic and its aftermath, to help increase academic support and achievement for students.

Recognizing that many MSI libraries are located in communities that lag behind the national average in terms of income and broadband access, these funds are intended to supplement staffing, program, and service strategies that may contribute to improved college experience and graduation rates.

Sixteen $10,000 grants will be given to successful applicants nationwide. The application site is open now. The application deadline is May 24, 2023, with awards announced at the end of June.

There will be a virtual grant information session on April 25 at 2 p.m. Central Time.

MSI’s are designated by the U.S. Department of Education and enroll some of the most racially and ethnically diverse students across the United States, the Caribbean, and the Pacific Islands.

Minority-Serving Institutions include:

Asian American Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institutions (ANNAPISIs)

Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian Serving Institutions (ANNHs)

Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCUs)

Hispanic Serving institutions (HSIs)

Native American-Serving Non-Tribal Institutions (NASNTIs)

Predominantly Black Institutions (PBIs)

Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs)

The grants are intended to bolster library operations and services including broadening technology access, developing collections, providing digital instruction, staffing, and expanding outreach, as well as maintaining and amplifying existing service strategies or adding new ones to extend impact through the end of 2023. 

Tracie D. Hall, ALA executive director since 2020 noted, “It has been our observation that MSI libraries are often called to support first-generation college students and students who have to navigate substantial obstacles to graduation with limited budgets and human resources. ALA intends these grants be catalytic – to help jumpstart or expand new programs and services or even rethink staffing models – in these institutions.”  She continued, “Since the pandemic, the data has shown that students in general, and BIPOC and low-income students in particular, need a greater array of supports in order to remain matriculated and to graduate from college. ALA wants to ensure that these academic libraries have the chance to access the additional funding that can increase their responsiveness.”

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

“ALA is extremely appreciative of the continued generous support and long-standing commitment of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support systemically under resourced libraries during these challenging times,” said ALA President Lessa Pelayo-Lozada.  “This support will enable them to continue their critical role helping students to achieve and succeed, and to the entire campus communities they serve. We know the impact of this support will be felt for years beyond the grant period.”

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 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.