CHICAGO - The American Association of School Librarians (AASL), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), Dollar General and the National Education Association (NEA), have awarded the second batch of Beyond Words grants to 20 school libraries affected by disasters. This fall, nearly $175,000 will be dispensed to hurricane-damaged schools in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas; the funds will be used to replenish school library media centers with much-needed books and educational materials.
The Beyond Words grant, sponsored by national discount retailer Dollar General, targets public school libraries nationwide who have suffered materials losses through a disaster, such as floods, hurricanes, fires, etc. The funds are for purchasing books, media, and /or library equipment that support learning in a school library environment.
"We congratulate the newest grant recipients and hope the funds help revitalize their schools through the library media centers. AASL is proud to be involved in this effort to provide these much needed dollars to school libraries in need," said AASL President Cyndi Phillip. "Dollar General provided $800,000 for the first year of the program and we have passed the halfway mark. With individual library awards ranging from $5,000 to $15,000, the program is in full force and we invite more schools around the country to apply."
To date, over $400,000 in disaster relief funding has been distributed through the program. Since the launch of the initiative in April 2006, 52 schools have received funding to replace their library media materials following losses due to a natural disaster. Most grants have been to schools damaged by last year's hurricanes in the Gulf Coast states.
"Dollar General is delighted to help more school libraries in need with these additional grants from the Beyond Words: The Dollar General School Library Relief Program," said David Perdue, Dollar General's chairman and CEO. "Through these grants, children whose schools have been affected by disaster will still have the opportunity to grow and learn at their school library. Dollar General believes it is important for every child to have the chance to learn to read, while cultivating a love of learning early in life. And, for many children their journey towards a lifetime of reading begins in the school library."
Detailed information about the Beyond Words grant program, including the complete list of winning schools, is available on the AASL Web site http://www.ala.org/aasl/disasterrelief.
The American Association of School Librarians, www.aasl.org, a division of the American Library Association (ALA), promotes the improvement and extension of library media services in elementary and secondary schools as a means of strengthening the total education program. Its mission is to advocate excellence, facilitate change and develop leaders in the school library media field.
About Dollar General
Dollar General is a Fortune 500® discount retailer with more than 8,000 neighborhood stores. Dollar General stores offer convenience and value to customers by offering consumable basic items that are frequently used and replenished, such as food, snacks, health and beauty aids and cleaning supplies, as well as a selection of basic apparel, house wares and seasonal items at everyday low prices. The company has a longstanding tradition of supporting literacy and education in the U.S. In 2005, the company supported nonprofit organizations that helped more than 81,000 individuals take their first steps toward literacy, a general education diploma or English proficiency. For more information about Dollar General, go to www.dollargeneral.com.