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.
Established during its Bicentennial celebration in 2000, the Library of Congress' "Living Legend" award is selected by the Library's curators and subject specialists to honor artists, writers, activists, filmmakers, physicians, entertainers, sports figures and public servants who have made significant contributions to America's diverse cultural, scientific and social heritage.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.