Libraries Transforming Communities: A Special Grant Opportunity for Small and Rural Libraries

The American Library Association (ALA) invites libraries in small and rural communities to apply for grant funding to help them address issues of concern in their communities.

Through ‘Libraries Transforming Communities: Focus on Small and Rural Libraries’, up to 650 U.S. libraries in small and rural communities will receive $3,000 each to tackle issues ranging from media literacy to COVID-19 safety to unemployment. Grants will be awarded in two waves in 2020 and 2021.

Applications will be accepted from Sept. 21 to Dec. 2, 2020 at http://www.ala.org/tools/librariestransform/libraries-transforming-communities/focusgrants

Selected libraries will develop their facilitation skills through online training, talk with community members (virtually or in-person) about local needs, and undertake a project that benefits their community. Grant funds may cover a range of expenses, from hotspot purchases to personal protective equipment to staff time to undertake community engagement work.

Grant recipients will also receive a copy of “Ask, Listen, Empower: Grounding Your Library Work in Community Engagement,” edited by Mary Davis Fournier and Sarah Ostman (ALA Editions, 2020).

Community engagement is the process of working collaboratively with community members – be they library patrons, residents, faculty, students or partner organizations – to address issues for the betterment of the community.

In February, ALA released a set of free professional development materials to help workers in small and rural libraries prepare for and lead discussions and overcome common challenges that arise when people gather to speak in groups. Available materials include:

‘Libraries Transforming Communities: Focus on Small and Rural Libraries’ is part of ALA’s longtime commitment to preparing library workers for the expanding role of libraries. The initiative is offered in partnership with the Association for Rural & Small Libraries (ARSL). It is supported by a private donor and the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).

Questions? Contact the American Library Association (ALA) Public Programs Office staff at 1-800-545-2433, ext. 5045, or publicprograms@ala.org

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