Submission Guidelines

Deadline: July 19, 2021 (Submissions close at 11:59 p.m. EDT.)

The Jerry Kline Community Impact Prize, developed in partnership between the Gerald M. Kline Family Foundation and Library Journal, was created in 2019 to recognize the public library as a vital community asset. When libraries, civic entities, organizations, and the people they serve become close partners, their communities thrive.

Prize: One winning library will receive $250,000 in unfettered grant monies from the Gerald M. Kline Family Foundation. The winning library will also be profiled in the November issue of Library Journal and online. Honorable mentions may also be named.

The winning library will be identified based on the degree of its impact on the community in the following key areas:

  • Engagement – a) How does local government interact with the library—and vice versa—to support the service area’s defined civic goals? b) How does the library use collaborations with community groups and individuals to drive library services?
  • Recognition – How does the community recognize and value the library? Inclusion – How does the library meet the needs of marginalized or underserved populations among its community and to promote social cohesion and connection across differences?
  • Leadership development – How does the library ensure its own organizational strength and dynamism?
  • Environmental sustainability – How does the library lead on sustainable thinking for the library itself and the community at large?  
  • Inventiveness – Provide an example of one of the library’s services which is particularly original, both strategically and tactically?

Application Requirements

  • Nominations will be submitted via an online form.
  • Nominations should include the following:
    • Nominee data: Library name, primary contact and contact mailing address, phone number, email.
    • Library data: population in service area, physical area served, per capita budget, number of patrons served, number of FTE, hours of volunteer service contributed to the library each year, types of existing funding sources with their relative percentages within total funding, and days and hours open per week. (We recognize that COVID closures may make the latter complicated. Please provide your pre-pandemic standard open hours and a brief explanation of any significant variation owing to the coronavirus.)
    • Multiple-author submissions are permitted. For submissions with multiple authors, please include the names and affiliations of all of the group members.
    • An overview summary of no more than 1,000 words pertaining to the goals and criteria listed above.
    • Detailed answers to focused answers on each of the criteria driven questions above (via fields in the online submission form).
    • Three letters of support from community partners and/or civic leaders, with at least one from an elected official.
    • Optional: Supporting materials such as photographs/images of the library and surrounding community; press coverage, brief videos (not exceed three minutes), etc. These materials are NOT REQUIRED and may or may not be reviewed in the evaluation process.

Read about the 2020 winner, Cranston Public Library.

Eligibility: All U.S. Public Libraries are eligible for the prize, whether in a single building in a small town or a multi-branch system serving an entire region. Previous winners are asked to take a ten year hiatus from submitting again for consideration.

Application Deadline: The deadline for consideration for the 2021 Community Impact Prize is July 19, 2021. (Submissions close at 11:59 p.m. EDT.)

Please submit nominations via the form found here.

Questions? Please contact Meredith Schwartz, Editor-in-Chief, Library Journal at


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