Originally published by ALA News
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.”
Serving seven hundred students, the L.P. Hill Library was doubly hit during the pandemic, experiencing a flood that closed the library damaging technology and resources, and the retrenchment of staff and the loss of its budget. The library only re-opened on January 30, 2023, with one librarian. Among the losses in the flood were iMac computers that were heavily used by students and faculty to create their innovative projects and assignments. With the grant, five brand new iMacs will be purchased.
“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.