The Great American Read

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. May I preview the application before completing it?

A. Yes. You may download a PDF preview of the application for reference; the application process is also covered in detail in Section V of the project guidelines.

Q. May applications be submitted in hard copy?

A. No. Applications must be submitted online at by 11:59 p.m. (CDT) on April 17, 2018. Applications that are late or incomplete will not be reviewed.

Q. What types of libraries are eligible?

A. This opportunity is open to all public libraries in the U.S. and U.S. territories.

Q. What will my library receive, if selected?

A. Each selected library will receive a $2,000 programming grant, a DVD collection of the eight-part television series with public performance rights (PPR); a hardcover copy of the companion book, The Great American Read: The Book of Books; print materials for local program promotion and publicity; a programming guide developed by ALA and PBS; a suite of online resources developed to support local programs and events; opportunities to host private, pre-broadcast screenings of the series premiere and six fall episodes in your library; and more. See Section II Benefits for Libraries in the guidelines for a complete list.

Q. What are the requirements if my library is selected?

A. Participating libraries will be required to host a minimum of three programs related to the PBS television series between May and November 2018, to coordinate activities with the local PBS member station, and complete an online final report about how you used the materials received no later than December 31, 2018. To be directed to the requirements listed in the guidelines, click here.

Q. My library is not located near a PBS member station. Am I still eligible to apply for the Great American Read Library Programming Grant?

A. Yes. ALA and PBS ask applicant libraries to contact their closest PBS member station, indicate that you are applying for a grant to present programs relating to the television series, and gauge the station’s interest in working together. If your closest station is not within driving distance, your interactions may be limited to communication about upcoming programs and events.

Q. My library contacted the closest PBS member station, but we have not received a response. Am I still eligible to apply for the Great American Read Library Programming Grant?

A. Yes. If you are unsuccessful in your efforts to connect with your closest station, simply confirm that your library is willing to work with a PBS member station if you are selected for the grant. This information, and any other context regarding your efforts to work with a local station, may be included in the narrative question section.

Q. How many libraries will be selected?

A. Up to 50 libraries will be selected.

Q. Can more than one branch of my library system apply?

A. While not recommended, more than one branch of a library system may apply for the award. However, it should be noted that the branches will be competing directly with one another for the award.

Q. How do I apply?

A. Register or sign in using the links below to begin your application.

Q. What if I have questions about my application?

A. Call the ALA Public Programs Office with any application or grant-related questions: (312) 280-5045 or toll free at (800) 545-2433 x 5045.

You can also send an e-mail to

Q. How long does the application take to fill out?

You can download a PDF preview of the application to prepare your answers ahead of time. Once you have the data requested and your narrative answer written, it should take approximately 10 minutes to fill out.

Q. What criteria will be used to evaluate the applications?

Clarity and completeness of the application, and the overall vision for the program series will play an important role in evaluation. Reviews will also consider how well programs expand upon relationships with literary organizations, educational partners, and/or PBS member stations, where applicable. Other factors that may influence the final selection of libraries include location, size and demographics of the community. Please see Section VI of the guidelines for further details about application review.

Q. How will I be notified about the status of my application?

You will receive a confirmation email once your application is submitted. All applicants will be notified of their award status via email by April 30, 2018.

Q. Can I edit my application after it has been submitted?

No, you cannot.

Q. When is the application deadline?

A. Applications will be accepted between March 13 and April 17, 2018. Applications must be submitted online by 11:59 p.m. (CDT) on April 17, 2018. Late or incomplete applications, and applications from ineligible institutions, will not be reviewed. Applications and support materials may not be submitted by mail or e-mail.

Q. When will I be notified if my library is selected?

A. All applicants will be notified of their award status by April 30, 2018.

To access the application system, sign in with your profile.