Library of Congress Literacy Awards

How to Apply

Please read the application instructions carefully.

Email two letters of reference and the completed application form, including the five selection criteria statements and your essay, to by midnight, April 30, EDT.


  • Observe the word count limit. You can optimize your word limit by referring to your initiative’s website (note the details that the website provides, such as staffing, budget and resources).
  • Read the Frequently Asked Questions.
  • In your narrative stay focused on providing the most relevant information and specific information or examples to support your case.
  • Usually, it is more effective for the overarching organization to submit a proposal rather than one subset of the organization (for example, a national literacy center rather than one town’s center, which is part of the national group).
  • Focus on the impact—improving people’s lives. You might distribute a million books, but if people don’t read those books then the initiative may or may not be making the difference.
  • If applying for the David M. Rubenstein Prize, demonstrate:
    • Broad and deep impact over time.
    • Growth and improvement over time.
    • How the initiative sustains itself through stable funding, staffing and other support.