The American Library Association (ALA) announced April 9 it will make available $1.25 million in emergency relief grants to libraries that have experienced substantial economic hardship caused by the coronavirus pandemic. ALA invites public, school, academic, and tribal libraries across the US and its territories to apply for grants of $30,000–$50,000 from the ALA COVID Library Relief Fund. Libraries serving low-income and rural communities, or communities that are predominately Black, Latinx, Asian, Indigenous, and people of color, are especially encouraged to apply.
These funds are intended to bolster library operations and services, including technology access, collections, digital instruction, staffing, and outreach. Funds can be used to maintain and amplify existing service strategies or add new ones.
“Libraries have demonstrated extraordinary innovation over the past year in creating new materials, programs, and service delivery models, but they are being asked to do more with less,” ALA Executive Director Tracie D. Hall said in an April 9 statement. “This new grant program recognizes those efforts and seeks to strengthen them, especially in communities where the need is greatest.” Hall added that this fund is the first part of a larger fundraising effort to support libraries, with more announcements planned in the coming months.
The ALA COVID Library Relief Fund is supported by Acton Family Giving, as part of its pandemic grantmaking response. Initial seed funding was provided by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
The application deadline is May 20. Awards will be announced at the end of June. Additional information and award guidelines are available on the grant application site. ALA’s Chapter Relations Office will administer the ALA COVID Library Emergency Relief Fund.