The American Library Association (ALA) has announced plans to award nearly $2 million to small and rural libraries in 2020 and 2021 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 to tackle issues ranging from media literacy to COVID-19 safety to unemployment. The initiative is part of ALA’s longtime commitment to preparing library workers for the expanding role of libraries.
Deadline is December 2, 2020.
The opportunity is open to libraries serving small and/or rural communities in the U.S. and U.S. territories. The Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS) defines small communities as those with a legal service area population of 25,000 or less and rural communities as those more than, or equal to, five miles from an urbanized area.
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.
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.
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).