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NEW YORK (AP) — The American Library Association has received a $5.5 million grant from the Mellon Foundation that it will use in part to counter the surge in book banning over the past two years,

“At a time when libraries and librarians are facing immense pressure and scrutiny, it is affirming and deeply meaningful to have the support of community champions like the Mellon Foundation, who understand our plight and are willing to invest in our mission,” ALA President Lessa Pelayo-Lozada said in a statement Tuesday.

“This transformational gift will enable ALA to expand its existing programs and establish new initiatives to better serve librarians and communities across the nation.”

The ALA also plans to expand its scholarships and other programs for librarians of color and broaden efforts to increase literacy among adults.

“Libraries remain among the country’s largest providers of adult basic education, literacy, and digital access and instruction,” ALA Executive Director Tracie D. Hall said in a statement. “The Mellon Foundation’s catalytic investment in our work allows us to continue to drive innovation and future-oriented thinking towards service areas that will ultimately help position libraries for long-term impact and their users for personal agency and socioeconomic mobility.”