For immediate release | July 10, 2023

ALA provides $10,000 grants to 17 academic libraries at minority serving institutions to build capacity

CHICAGO — The American Library Association (ALA) today announced $10,000 Building Library Capacity Grants to seventeen libraries at Minority Serving Institutions (MSI) across the United States that have experienced economic hardship due the consequences of the pandemic and its aftermath, to help increase academic support and achievement for students. 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.

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.

Tracie D. Hall, ALA executive director said, “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 – helping jumpstart or expand new programs, services, or even staffing models.” She continued, “Since the pandemic, 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 access to additional funding that can increase their responsiveness.”

Hampton University’s (VA) has limited spaces on campus for collaboration on research or projects. As a Historically Black College or University (HBCU),funding was limited during COVID. The William R. and Norma B. Harvey Library, like the rest of the university, had to cut its budget during this unprecedented time. The grant will create two new multimedia spaces in the library for small group collaborative learning. This will enhance technology access to students and the overall university community.

Blackfeet Community College (MT) students and faculty are served by the Spring Medicine Library, the only academic library within 100 miles of campus. The library was closed for fourteen months during the pandemic and its collection budget was cut, impacting not only the three hundred students but everyone on the Blackfeet Reservation. The grant will allow the library to update its collection, specifically related to six programs- health sciences, environmental science, behavioral health, psychology, social work, and business management.

Essex County College (NJ) suffered a decrease in enrollment as most students are from lower income, non-traditional, minority populations who were the most challenged to stay in academia during the pandemic. Due to revenue loss the library staff was cut by 60%. The library now finds itself challenged to continue providing needed support to students. The grant will increase the library’s capacity to provide Information and Digital Competency instruction.

“ALA is grateful for the continued generous support and long-standing commitment of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support libraries during these challenging times,” said ALA President Emily Drabinski. “These grants will enable them to continue building community and capacity, helping students to achieve and succeed well beyond the grant period.”

A complete list of grant recipients can be found on the ALA Building Library Capacity webpage.

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.


Raymond Garcia

Communications Specialist

Communications and Marketing Office