Founding Era

Public libraries are invited to apply for Revisiting the Founding Era, a nationwide project that will use historical documents to spark public conversations about the Founding Era’s enduring ideas and themes and how they continue to influence our lives today.

Applications will be accepted from December 15, 2017, to January 31, 2018.

Up to 100 U.S. public libraries will be selected to host programs related to the American Revolution and the early years of the nation. Participating libraries will receive:

  • 10 copies of a 100-page reader containing selected documents from the lauded Gilder Lehrman Collection, one of the great archives in U.S. history
  • $1,000 to help implement discussion groups and other public programs
  • Training, resources and support

Libraries, working in collaboration with scholars, local experts and others, will be asked to implement at least three public programs for adult and teen audiences.

Public libraries serving rural or underserved communities are especially encouraged to apply.

Revisiting the Founding Era is a project of the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History in collaboration with the American Library Association (ALA) and the National Constitution Center. The project is supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH).

Questions? Contact ALA’s Public Programs Office at

Watch live! Revisiting the Founding Era Town Hall at the National Constitution Center

Tune in on Wednesday, January 10 at 6 PM ET to the National Constitution Center town hall and join historians Carol Berkin and Denver Brunsman, community leader Farah Jimenez, and others as they discuss priceless documents from the Founding era, highlight the enduring importance of America’s Founding, and discuss how the Founding era documents and debates can help guide conversations that resonate today within communities often left out of the Founding narrative, including minorities, women, and others.

Create your profile to begin. You can use this profile for this project, and for future opportunites with the Public Programs Office. All you need to get started is an email address.

To get started, or to return to your application, sign in to your profile. If you have applied for recent projects with the Public Programs Office, you can use the same email address and password.