Book to Action 2021

Book to Action 2021 Overview

The Book to Action initiative invites library staff to engage with community partners and create a series of events for adults and intergenerational groups. Book to Action initiatives tackle important issues in the community and encourage reading, community discussion, and action through various volunteer and engagement opportunities. Participating libraries collaboratively create virtual and in-person programming aimed at reaching and connecting adults and intergenerational groups.

Book to Action 2021 will provide staff development opportunities, programming support, and an opportunity for statewide public programming to occur between March 2021 – July 2021. In preparation, we will hold staff development and toolkit building training October 2020 – February 2021.

The Book to Action 2021 initiative is based on library staff and community input, collaboration with other state-wide projects, and ongoing evaluation and reflection. The Book to Action Toolkit will be updated throughout the grant period.

Up to 100 participating libraries will receive:

  • $1,000 worth of books (both print and Overdrive ebooks and/or digital audiobooks supported) to distribute to community members as part of the Book to Action initiative
  • Speaker/author/moderator support ranging from $500 – $1,000 per participating library
  • Opportunity to shape collaborative statewide virtual events coordinated by California Center for the Book and participating libraries

Participating staff agree to:

  • Collaborate with at least one community partner
  • Actively participate in staff development, toolkit development, communication, and reflection opportunities
  • Complete program requirements outlined in the timeline below
  • Plan a Book to Action series that encourages lifelong learning, connection, and volunteerism/community engagement among adults and intergenerational groups

Please Note: The Book to Action initiative is grant funded. No funds are distributed to participating libraries. All books are ordered and paid for by California Library Association. All speaker fees are arranged by the library and paid directly by California Library Association. 

Who Should Participate in Book to Action 2021

California library staff members who value community engagement and community partnerships are encouraged to apply. Each branch or system applying should select one Program Coordinator who will serve as the main point of contact. In addition to the Program Coordinator, each library may select an internal team of up to 4 participating staff members (5 total), who will also have access to the live webinars and Slack community. This opportunity is available for up to 100 California libraries. Academic and special libraries are encouraged to apply if they will work with a public library as one of their main partners. Large public library systems may apply for more than one Book to Action initiative by creating regional teams. We are looking forward to connecting communities, partners, and library staff across California with the Read, Discuss, Act model.

Why Your Library Team Should Participate in Book to Action 2021

Library staff that participated in previous Book to Action initiatives shared the following reflections on their experiences:

  • “A huge growth experience”
  • “Has impacted the community and me by empowering individuals to realize that they can make a difference”
  • “We absolutely love Book to Action and the way in which it positions us to work with community partners and look to the needs that exist and how we can work together to meet them.”
  • “I personally feel less fear in tackling difficult and important conversations through adult programs. This is the first grant that I have had the privilege of working on and I’m so grateful. The way that Book to Action provides us the opportunity to learn from our peers, get valuable grant experience, and engage with our communities in a more thoughtful way is already informing my approach to designing programs for adults in the future.”
  • “Book to Action offered me a chance to learn so much: about myself, about coordinating a big program, and of course, about our chosen topic as well. The particular challenges of BTA 2020 offered me a chance to learn about my agility and creativity as a thinker and programmer, which upon reflection I’m so grateful for.”
  • “The framework and networking opportunities with other Book to Action coordinators throughout the state empowers librarians to go beyond the programming limitations and offer creative and high-quality programs. Because funding opportunities are limited for adult programming, the support and funding provided through BTA is particularly empowering for libraries that don’t have the support from Friends groups.”

Book to Action 2021 Timeline

Flexibility and collaboration are key concepts in FY2020/2021. Below is a tentative timeline.

  • Planning Survey Open – Mid-August 2020 through September 8, 2020
  • Open Discussion Pre-Application Webinars – September 9 & 16, 2020 @ 1pm
  • Applications Open – September 14, 2020 (see below)
  • Applications Due – October 2, 2020 @ 5pm
  • Notifications Made – October 16, 2020
  • Staff Development Webinars & Collaboration – October 2020 through July 2021
  • Public Programming – March 2021 through July 2021
  • Community Surveys, Library Reports, Case Study Forms Due (See Book to Action Toolkit) – August 20, 2021

Fall 2020 / Spring 2021 Staff Development Webinars & Collaboration

All professional development events will be one hour Zoom webinars, by invitation for participating libraries. There will be optional pre-webinar readings or media shared in advance.  Live webinars will be recorded and shared with participating libraries and the general library community after the events. Proposed staff development opportunities include:

  • Book to Action 2021 Open Discussions (Pre-Application Webinars) – View Recordings
  • Book to Action Webinar #1: Community Partnerships – Wednesday, October 21, 2020 @ 2pm
  • Book to Action Webinar #2: Designing a Community Engagement Series – Thursday, November 12, 2020 @ 2pm
  • Book to Action Webinar #3: Virtual Programming, Marketing & Outreach Ideas Exchange  – Wednesday, December 9, 2020 @ 2pm
  • Book to Action Webinar #4: Planning for Evaluation and Case Study / Reflections – Wednesday, January 13, 2021 @ 2pm
  • Book to Action Webinar #5: Pre-Launch Check-in & Kick-off Party – Wednesday, February 10, 2021 @ 2pm
  • 5th Annual Adult Services Symposium with Book to Action community engagement presentations as part of the California Library Association Pre-Conference. Presenters will receive travel support.  Stay posted for details – Wednesday, May 5, 2021
  • Book to Action 2021 Case Studies shared – August & September 2021
  • Collaboration via Slack – ongoing

IMLS and Statewide Program Goals & Outcomes

Goal 3: California libraries inspire, support, and engage in innovation, creativity, connections, and collaborations in their communities. Outcome 3c: Californians connect and collaborate through their library

Goal 7: California libraries are staffed by a skilled and diverse workforce whose members engage in continuing education and leadership development opportunities, deliver high-quality library and information services, and effect positive change in their communities. Outcome 7: California library staff is well-prepared to meet the diverse needs and effect positive change in their communities.

Apply for Book to Action 2021

  1. Review the information on the Book to Action Toolkit.
  2. Join the Book to Action 2021 discussion on Slack. Use your work email to sign up for Slack.
  3. See the Book to Action 2021 Application Planning Doc to preview the information you’ll need to apply.
  4. Apply for Book to Action 2021 on the Google Form at are due October 2, 2020 @ 5pm. Early applications are strongly encouraged and allow time for any clarifying questions. Thank you!

A copy of your application will be emailed to you as confirmation. Notifications will be made by October 16, 2020. See timeline above.


Be sure to attend one of the Open Discussion webinars and join us on Slack. Additionally, free to reach out to for more information.