American Dream Literacy Initiative: Programming


The American Dream Literacy initiative is a yearlong program that delivers services and serves thousands of English language learners in a warm and welcoming environment.

To date, more than 200 public libraries have initiated or expanded literacy services for adult English language learners. American Dream libraries offer computer access and training, job readiness programs, and ELL, GED and citizenship classes.

Here are a few of their stories.

South Orange, New Jersey

Three New Jersey libraries teamed up for results in the area of community engagement.

Through an American Dream grant from ALA and the Dollar General Literacy Foundation, three Essex County libraries — Bloomfield, Montclair, and South Orange — have established a partnership to provide literacy assistance to all Essex County residents.

The county’s libraries serve a population diverse in background, ethnicity, economic status and education. Roughly one-third of its population speaks a language other than English. South Orange in particular has seen an influx of Haitian immigrants actively seeking English language learning.

Read more about SOPL's American Dream story on

Athens, Georgia

The Athens-Clarke County Library Pinewoods Branch enabled adult immigrants to develop English language skills that better equip them to live in the U.S. and communicate with their children.

The Pinewoods Library and Learning Center's American Dream grants have helped the library improve literacy services through volunteer training, book and A/V purchases and publicity outreach.

With its latest grant, the library expanded existing English literacy services that enable adults to learn how to read and write or converse in English.

Read more about Pinewoods' American Dream story.

Waukegan, Illinois

Fabio Gomez and Pedro Gomez progressed from taking GED classes at the Waukegan Public Library to becoming GED tutors themselves.

The library received a $15,000 American Dream for its Promotoras Ambassador Program that gave library patrons the chance to "pay it forward."