Inspire Collection Development Grant

Sponsored by Marina "Marney" Welmers

Monetary Amount: up to $5,000

Deadline: February 1


Through the generous donation of Marina “Marney” Welmers, an AASL member and retired middle school librarian, AASL is pleased to offer the Inspire Collection Development Grant, a grant so that an existing public middle or high school can extend, update, and diversify the book, online, subscription and/or software collections in their library in order to realize sustainable improvement in student achievement at their school. The program is to satisfy the need to establish or supplement traditional print or online resources in the school library setting in order to realize sustainable improvement in student achievement at their school.

The Fund is $20,000 per year. The direct assistance grant shall be capped at $5,000. At least four grants per year will be awarded with the total number of grants determined by number of applicants, geographic distribution, and total unmet need as determined by the Jury. Of the total, at least two (2) grants up to $5,000 per year will be awarded to a public middle or high school that has 85% or more of its student population qualified for Free/Reduced Lunch (FRL) program.


  1. The applicant must be a publicly funded middle or high school, grades 5-12, and have an existing campus library. Each library, regardless of the variety of constituents it may serve, is limited to submission of one application.
  2. The grant is awarded to individual schools, not to districts; all schools in a given district are welcome to apply if they meet the criteria, but each school must submit an application that is specific to their needs.

  3. Private, parochial, independent, and home schools are not eligible. Charter schools can apply if they are publicly funded.

  4. The public middle or high school library must be located in the United States, with one staff position being held by a certified school librarian.

  5. If the school does not have a certified school librarian on campus staff, the applicant can still apply if there is a certified school librarian available at the district or regional level who will work with the school on the selection of materials to be purchased. Regional level may include service centers or equivalent, university faculty, or staff of neighboring school districts. It is expected that a certified school librarian at the campus, district, or regional level be involved in the selection or materials to be purchased.

  6. The school principal must agree to submission of the Inspire Collection Development Grant. 

  7. The school and/or the certified school librarian do not have to be a member of ALA, AASL, or any other ALA division to apply; however, the jury may take membership into consideration when determining grant awards.

  8. Schools that have 85% or more of its student population qualified for Free Reduced Lunch (FRL) program should include this information in their application to receive additional consideration by the Jury.

  9. The Jury may take the school’s geographic location into consideration when determining grant awards.

  10. Funds can be used to purchase books, whether they are hardbound print or a Braille volume, an audiobook on audiotape or CD-ROM, or an e-book to be added to either the circulating or reference section of the school library collection. Grant funds can be used to purchase magazine/serial copies or subscriptions, as well as DVD or videotape movie versions of books or plays. Funds can be used to purchase materials that are pre-processed when they come from the vendor.

  11. The following cannot not be funded by the grant: separate processing, for any processing service, or for salaries or stipends for individuals processing books in the school system, furniture, shelving, classroom sets of books, collections of books stored in closets, or collections of books on rolling carts of any kind, student/teacher guides to the book (in print or other media), a test/quiz/workbook, exercise book or commentary on the book, any software related to the book, or electronic book reader.

  12. Institutions represented by Inspire Collection Development Grant Jury can be eligible to apply, but committee members must recuse themselves from the discussion and voting or decline if they have a conflict of interest.

  13. The school library must be a first-time recipient of the Inspire Collection Development Grant.  All previous recipients are ineligible to apply.

  14. The school principal must agree to submission of the Inspire Collection Development Grant. The grant does not require that the district, the county, the state, or any other agency approve the application. AASL encourages the school to check with the district office regarding any pertinent grant application policies or regulations it may have.

  15. Within one year of receiving a grant, recipients are required to submit a report describing how this grant impacted the school library program. The report should include receipts on how the funds were allocated. If photographs or images are part of the project, the report must include digital copies of all release-signed photographs. (These reports could be posted, with permission of the recipient, on the AASL website, and on any other ALA website/webpage or ALA publication as requested by ALA.)

  16. Grant recipients must spend grant funds within the school year following the year in which the grant was given.


The Inspire Collection Development Fund Jury will evaluate the applicant based on the following criteria:

  1. The quality of the benefits this grant will bring to the community.
  2. A project plan that includes a timeline, budget, and clarity of purpose.

  3. Rankings based on a rubric that correlates with the ratings sheet.

Download Criteria & Rating Sheets pdf icon

Download Copy of Application 

* Please note: This downloadable version is for informational purposes only. All applications must be submitted online, via the Apply Now button that will appear at the top of the page when the next award season opens in early September.


Allison Cline email icon
Deputy Executive Director


Year Recipient School
2019 Sean Casey Northeast Middle School
Minneapolis, Minn.
2019 Melissa Iamonico Sprain Brook Academy
Valhalla, N.Y.
2019 Lauren Mabry Andrew Lewis Middle School
Salem, Va.
2019 Holly Schwarzmann Largo Middle School
Largo, Florida
2019 Ness Shortley Horton Middle School
Pittsboro, N.C.
2019 Mae-Lynn Smith Great Oaks Charter School Wilmington
Wilmington, Del.
2018 Carolyn Bushey I.C. Norcom High School
Portsmouth, Va.
2018 LeAnn Dowty Kingsbury Middle School
Memphis, Tenn.
2018 Cynthia Johnson Longleaf Middle School
Columbia, S.C.
2018 Shannon Knowlton Poplar Middle School
Poplar, Mont.
2018 Samantha Marker Samuel M. Ridgway Middle School
Edgewater Park, N.J.
2018 Stacy Udo Olympia High School
Olympia, Wash.
2017 Jeanna Wersebe El Camino High School
Oceanside, Ca.
2017 Haley Walters George Washington High School
Danville, Va.
2017 Michelle Kruse Roosevelt Middle School
Cedar Rapids, Iowa
2017 Laura Long Highland School of Technology
Gastonia, N.C.
2017 Maria Ornes Kagman High School
Saipan, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands
2017 Christina Gavin Jane Addams Campus Library
New York, N.Y.
2016 Kelly Beckham Kannapolis Middle School
Kannapolis, N.C.
2016 Cheryl Goff Carrie D. Kendrick Middle School
Jonesboro, Ga.
2016 Shanna Miles South Atlanta High School
Atlanta, Ga.
2016 Leigh Morlock Jefferson High School Middle College for Advanced Studies
Portland, Ore.
2016 Chalice Tillis Abbeville High School
Abbeville, Ala.