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Library of the Year Award

Award to a USA or Canada Library to Recognize Outstanding
Service to the Community During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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Library Journal (LJ)

Deadline Date:



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Award of $10,000 to a USA or Canada library to recognize outstanding service to the community, especially during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The award will honor a library that demonstrates innovative and creative development of community programs or a marked increase in library usage, service to the community, leadership in creating programs that can be emulated by other libraries, and commitment to equity and inclusion.

In the last year, Library Journal has embarked on an ongoing learning process. As part of that work, Library Journal has re-examined and updated the award guidelines for Library of the Year to reflect a deeper commitment to social justice and greater inclusion in the judging process. The revised guidelines make explicit a requirement for equity, diversity, and inclusion as a core mission priority, and elevate the focus on staff well-being, for example, by asking applicants to explain how the nominated library kept staff as well as patrons safe and engaged during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 2021 Library Journal/Gale Library of the Year celebrates the library that most profoundly demonstrates the following:

  1. Service to the community. How did you assess your community’s needs, allocate your focus and resources in alignment with your mission, meet those needs, and measure and build on your success?
  2. Creativity and innovation in developing specific community programs or a dramatic increase in library usage. Please share outcomes that demonstrate the efficacy of those programs.
  3. Leadership in creating programs that can be emulated by other libraries. If applicable, please tell about other libraries that have adopted your practices and how you help them through toolkits, presentations, etc.
  4. Commitment to equity and inclusion.
    1. Internally: Demonstrate that the library is working to recruit, retain, and promote workers who mirror the community they serve and to establish, strengthen, and maintain an internal culture which empowers and listens to staff, especially those from communities underrepresented in librarianship.
    2. Externally: Show what the library is doing to meet the unique needs of different populations, particularly marginalized communities such as Black, Indigenous, and people of color; LBGTQIA+, disabled; neurodivergent, and unhoused patrons. How do you create services for equitable outcomes, strive to create a welcoming and inclusive space for marginalized patrons, and reassess longstanding practices through the lens of impact rather than intent?

COVID-19 response: Because 2020 brought unique challenges to libraries, please explain what measures you took during the pandemic to keep staff and patrons safe and engaged, with particular reference to those who do not have access to home broadband and devices.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 178593

Estimated Total Program Funding:


Number of Grants:


Estimated Size of Grant:

Along with the cash award of $10,000, the winner will be featured in an LJ cover story and honored with a virtual gala celebration.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Any library in the United States or Canada can apply. Libraries that have previously won the award will not be eligible until five years after winning.

A library may be nominated by itself or by a community member.

Pre-Application Information:

The nomination deadline is May 3, 2021

Upon submission of the application form, you will receive an email confirmation.

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Apply or nominate online:

For questions, contact:
Meredith Schwartz

Library Journal
123 William St., Suite 802
New York, NY 10038
Tel: 646-380-0700
Fax: 646-380-0756

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Alabama;   Alaska;   Arizona;   Arkansas;   California;   Colorado;   Connecticut;   Delaware;   Florida;   Georgia;   Hawaii;   Idaho;   Illinois;   Indiana;   Iowa;   Kansas;   Kentucky;   Louisiana;   Maine;   Maryland;   Massachusetts;   Michigan;   Minnesota;   Mississippi;   Missouri;   Montana;   Nebraska;   Nevada;   New Hampshire;   New Jersey;   New Mexico;   New York City;   New York;   North Carolina;   North Dakota;   Ohio;   Oklahoma;   Oregon;   Pennsylvania;   Rhode Island;   South Carolina;   South Dakota;   Tennessee;   Texas;   Utah;   Vermont;   Virginia;   Washington, DC;   Washington;   West Virginia;   Wisconsin;   Wyoming

Canada: Alberta;   British Columbia;   Manitoba;   New Brunswick;   Newfoundland and Labrador;   Northwest Territories;   Nova Scotia;   Nunavut;   Ontario;   Prince Edward Island;   Quebec;   Saskatchewan;   Yukon;

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