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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Library of Congress Literacy Awards
The Library of Congress Literacy Awards were established as a program to help support organizations working to alleviate the problems of illiteracy, both in the United States and worldwide. The awards reward organizations doing exemplary, innovative and easily replicable work over a sustained period and to encourage new groups, organizations and individuals to become involved.
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.
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.