grantThe objective of a DLA funded grant is to provide funds that help cover library programs or exhibitions that foster a sense of community engagement, and/or present timely topics of interest in areas such as civics, humanities, pop culture, world events, literature, health, family, or other areas as deemed appropriate.

In the time of COVID and many social movements, DLA is looking for virtual programs that go beyond a presentation, and focus on community input and interaction.  Programs that provide accurate historical context, advocacy resources, or open dialogue / discussion boards are some examples of virtual community engagement offerings.



Review the Community Engagement Grant 2020 flyer.

Review the GRANT APPLICANT FACT SHEET for grant requirements and application criteria.



Access the Grant Application Form

Application cycle ends October 2, 2020.

Have questions, email AT


Community Engagement Grant FY20 Award News


Congratulations to the Laurel Public Library!

On December 11, 2019, Laurel Public Library was awarded a $500 Community Engagement Grant for their proposal Farm to Patron table.  For this program, Laurel will partner with local farmers, orchards and growers to secure donations of fresh produce, and will also incorporate healthy cooking classes focusing not only on using the fresh produce, but also on making one pot meals.  In talking with Gail Bruce, director of the Laurel Public Library, she said the inspiration for the idea came from an ALA seminar regarding food and security in under-served populations.  Laurel has a high poverty rate, and food insecurity in their community is an ever-growing issue.  The mission of the Laurel Public Library is to connect, create and inspire, and being physically located in the heart of downtown Laurel, this program seemed to be a good fit for the library to be community forward and focused. 

The Laurel Public Library has strong community ties and they partner with many local non-profit organizations.  The library hosts monthly community conversations where different groups are invited to meet and share their resources.  Reaching out to the agricultural community is just another community partnership they are happy to engage in.  The program will mainly be marketed to lower-income adults, and there are thoughts to possibly offer a recyclable bag and cooking utensils to those individuals who frequently attend classes and partake in the donated fresh produce.  According to Gail, the library is surrounded by local farms and produce stands and the staff is “really excited” to start this new venture.

The program has a projected start date of Spring 2020.


Shown in photo from the left:
Alison Wessel, DLA President
Gail Bruce, Director, Laurel Public Library
Wenona Phillips, Assistant Director, Laurel Public Library
Cheryl Martin, Board Treasurer
Jaclyn Hale, DLA Treasurer


Congratulations to the Rehoboth Beach Public Library!

On December 11, 2019, Rehoboth Beach Public Library was awarded a $500 Community Engagement Grant for their proposal Growing Together: a Community Herb Garden.  The project will create an herbal garden in the breezeway of the library, led by volunteers and patrons with a green thumb.  Tyler Antoine, Program Librarian, thinks the project can lead to many innovative programs; including childrens’ programs, cooking classes, botany workshops, holistic remedies, a possible seed library, and an end-of-the-season pot luck dinner.  The inspiration for the project grew out of successful cooking classes held at the library.  As stated by Tyler, “This grant provides a visible way to engage the community and tie in connections with programs that people are currently interested in”.

Trustee President Tucker Kokjohn agrees, “We appreciate and support the diversity in programming and think Tyler and the library staff are doing a great job”.  A fundraising event to support this project is scheduled for February 11, 2020 at the Delaware Botanical Gardens in Ocean View, Delaware.  According to Tyler, “We have high hopes for library programming at the Rehoboth Public Library, and are very excited and grateful for the opportunity to pursue this idea.  This project embodies community engagement by asking everyone to take part and connect with one another”.

The community herb garden is scheduled to be implemented in late April / early May 2020.

Shown in photo from the left:
Carol Popham, Friends of Rehoboth Beach Public Library
Kate Renner, Friends of Rehoboth Beach Public Library
Alison Wessel, DLA President
Lauren McCauley, Events Coordinator, Rehoboth Beach Public Library
Tucker Kokjohn, Trustee President
Trudie Thompson, Friends of Rehoboth Beach Public Library
Kathy Ackerman, Friends of Rehoboth Beach Public Library
Paul King, Patron
Tyler Antoine, Program Librarian, Rehoboth Beach Public Library
Tom Wontorek, Trustee Treasurer
Alex Yearley, Friends of Rehoboth Beach Public Library
Jaclyn Hale, DLA Treasurer


Congratulations to the Selbyville Public Library!

On December 11, 2019, Selbyville Public Library was awarded a $500 Community Engagement Grant for their proposal Lunch and Learn at the Selbyville Public Library.  For the past five years, the Selbyville Public Library has participated in the USDA Summer Food Service Program.  While the library has found the program extremely beneficial (it is limited to children ages 18 and younger), adults and seniors have been excluded from the opportunity to enjoy free lunch and fellowship.  The Selbyville Library has taken steps to tackle this problem, partnering with the Odyssey Church in 2017 to provide lunch on Tuesdays to people of all ages.  Now in 2020, they have set their sights on providing free meals to people of all ages two days a week by partnering with local restaurants. 

According to Kelly Kline, Library Director, “People come to the library seeking some sort of betterment.  There’s something basic about sharing a meal with a neighbor or a friend.  This program also provides a lot of ways for people to get involved”.  A number of community members have given donations, including a local landscape company who donated outdoor picnic tables when the library was running out of indoor space to hold all the lunch meals.  The Southern Sussex Rotary Club has also donated $500 toward expenses for this project.  As stated by Kelly, “The success of Tuesdays and knowing it could be more really inspired this idea.  The Selbyville area struggles with food security and the library wants to get in front of this fight in our area”.  Food donations by local area restaurants have been secured for the month of July and library staff are actively working to fill June and August.

The program will run from June – August 2020.

Shown in photo from the left:
Stacey Long, Selbyville Town Manager
Jaclyn Hale, DLA Treasurer
Alison Wessel, DLA President
Kelly Kline, Director, Selbyville Public Library
Megan Bunting, Youth Program Coordinator, Selbyville Public Library
Dawn LeKites, Board Member
Kristina Griffin, Board Member


2019 Grant recipients

2018 Grant recipients