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Awards & Honors

The Library of Congress sponsors privately endowed programs that honor achievement in the humanities and creativity. Through these awards and prizes, the world's greatest repository of human creativity honors those who have advanced and embodied the ideals of individual creativity, conviction, dedication, scholarship and exuberance.

Poet Laureate

The Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry is appointed annually by the Librarian of Congress and serves from October to May. During his or her term, the Poet Laureate seeks to raise the national consciousness to a greater appreciation of the reading and writing of poetry.

Visit the Poetry web site to learn more about the Poet Laureate

John W. Kluge Prize

Endowed by a great Library benefactor, the John W. Kluge Prize for Achievement in the Study of Humanity rewards lifetime achievement in the wide range of disciplines not covered by the Nobel prizes. Such disciplines include history, philosophy, politics, anthropology, sociology, religion, criticism in the arts and humanities, and linguistics. The award is at the financial level of the Nobel awards.

Visit the Kluge Center web site to learn more about the Kluge Prize

Gershwin Prize

The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song was created to honor artists whose lifetime contributions in the field of popular song exemplify the standard of excellence associated with George and Ira Gershwin, by bridging musical styles, bringing diverse listeners together, and fostering their mutual respect and appreciation.

View all Gershwin Prizes

Library of Congress Lavine/Ken Burns Prize for Film

In 2019, the Library of Congress partnered with The Better Angels Society, Jonathan and Jeannie Lavine, and Ken Burns to establish an official prize of the Library of Congress recognizing excellence in American history documentary filmmaking in the model of Ken Burns.

Learn more about the Film Prize

Library of Congress Fiction Prizes

Since 2008, the Library of Congress has awarded a prize to distinguished writers of fiction. Beginning in 2013, the Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction has been presented to an author for a body of extraordinary work.

View all Fiction Prizes

Library of Congress Literacy Awards

The Library of Congress Literacy Awards Program recognizes organizations that have made outstanding contributions to increasing literacy in the United States and abroad. The awards are distributed annually and reward organizations doing exemplary, innovative and easily replicable work over a sustained period and encourage new groups to become involved.

Visit the website to learn more about the Literacy Awards

National Ambassador for Young People's Literature

The National Ambassador for Young People's Literature raises national awareness of the importance of young people’s literature as it relates to lifelong literacy, education and the development and betterment of the lives of young people.

Learn more about the National Ambassador

Living Legends

The Living Legends recognition was a project initiated by Librarian of Congress James H. Billington in preparation for the bicentennial celebration of the Library of Congress in 2000. The program honored individuals who have made significant contributions to America's diverse cultural, scientific and social heritage. The program was retired by Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden in 2018.