Programs and Partners

IMLS grant extends doctoral studies program

Spectrum Scholarship porgram, The Future is Overdue.The Institute of Museum and Library Services Laura Bush 21st-Century Librarian Program awarded the Office for Diversity and Spectrum Scholarship Program a grant of $886,499 to extend the Spectrum Doctoral Fellowship Program: Building Change. This program will continue ALA’s efforts to recruit doctoral candidates from ethnically diverse backgrounds and to work with participating academic programs to support their education. Selected Spectrum Doctoral Fellows will receive full tuition and stipends for two years beginning in the fall of 2013, support for participation in professional conferences where they can share their research, and participation in two Spectrum Doctoral Fellows Institutes to prepare for their doctoral studies and dissertation work. More than 20 LIS doctoral programs have agreed to participate in the project, each pledging to provide full tuition and stipends for the candidates after the first two years.

PLA renews partnership with Gates Foundation

The Public Library Association (PLA) renewed its partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in work on two grant-funded projects: Turning the Page 2.0 and the Public Access Technology Benchmarks initiative.

Turning the Page 2.0Turning the Page 2.0 is the next generation of the popular and successful Turning the Page: Building Your Library Community program previously offered by PLA. Free to all participants, the 2.0 training addresses the same core issues of advocacy, communications, and relationship building—this time in a convenient blended-learning format. In a six-week, facilitated online course to be offered six times in 2011 through 2012, library staff and supporters learn how to create and tell their library’s story, deliver effective presentations, develop a compelling case for support, and build and sustain partnerships along the way. Participants choose an advocacy goal for their library and are guided through the creation of an advocacy work plan.

PLA joined 11 organizations, including ALA’s Office for Information Technology Policy, in the Public Access Technology Benchmarks initiative to develop, pilot, and promote the adoption of public access technology benchmarks for public libraries. The PLA’s role in the groundbreaking coalition and project funded by the Gates Foundation will be to lead development of a training program for libraries and library trainers to encourage adoption and implementation of the benchmarks.

ALSC announces “Día” mini-grants

DiaTo celebrate El día de los niños/El día de los libros (Children’s Day/Book Day), also known as Día, the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) made 15 mini-grants in 2010. Eight libraries serving populations of 75,000 or less won mini-grants worth $4,000 each, and seven libraries serving more than 75,000 won $6,000 grants. The mini-grants are part of the ALSC’s Everyone Reads @ your library grant funded by the Dollar General Literacy Foundation. Día’s primary goals are to honor children and their diverse backgrounds, to encourage reading and literacy, and to promote library collections and programs that reflect the nation’s plurality on a daily basis.

Grants support understanding of Louisa May Alcott

Thirty libraries received $2,500 grants to support five reading, viewing, and discussion programs featuring the documentary "Louisa May Alcott: The Woman Behind Little Women" and the companion biography of the same name. The library outreach program for “Louisa May Alcott: The Woman Behind Little Women” is a collaboration among the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), the Public Programs Office (PPO), and Nancy Porter and Harriet Reisen for Filmmakers Collaborative. The film, biography, and library programs will re-introduce audiences to Alcott by presenting a story full of insights, discoveries about the author, and a new understanding of American culture during her lifetime.

Money Smart Week @ your library promotes personal financial literacy

ALA became the first national partner of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago’s Money Smart Week® initiative to promote personal financial literacy. Libraries in 30 states participated in Money Smart Week @ your library, held April 2–9, partnering with community groups, financial institutions, government agencies, educational organizations, and other financial experts to help consumers learn to better manage their personal finances.

YALSA and ALSC win Dollar General Literacy Foundation funding

Dollar GeneralThe Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) and ALSC received funding to support Everyone Reads @ the Library, a new youth literacy program, through a grant from Dollar General Literacy Foundation. Each division received $70,000 to support its efforts. YALSA used its money to create materials to help librarians serve Spanish-speaking teens, develop an iPhone application, and offer mini-grants for Teen Read Week and summer reading. The grant also supported distributing sets of the 2011 Teens’ Top Ten nominees to needy libraries.

LibrariUS initiative helps patrons share library stories

PLAOLAPLA and the ALA Office for Library Advocacy partnered with Public Insight Network at American Public Media (APM) to promote a new initiative, LibrariUS. A journalism project undertaken in collaboration with libraries, LibrariUS uses an interactive website to explore the information, social, and civic needs of communities through the lens of local libraries. A simple widget installed on a library’s website links patrons to the LibrariUS website and enables them to share why they’re visiting the library or using the library’s website. Responses are displayed on a dynamic map, updated in real time, and contact information is also requested for possible media follow-up.

150 libraries receive sets of theme-related books

Great Stories ClubIn the fourth round of Great Stories CLUB (Connecting Libraries, Underserved teens and Books) grants, the ALA Public Programming Office (PPO), in cooperation with YALSA, chose 150 libraries to receive 11 sets of three theme-related books to provide to members of a reading club. The program encourages libraries to work with community partners such as juvenile justice facilities, alternative high schools, drug rehabilitation centers, and other nonprofits serving teens. Funding for this program was provided by Oprah’s Angel Network; and in May, the PPO received additional support from the National Endowment for the Arts, supporting visits from the authors of the books distributed to teen readers in five juvenile justice facilities. Since 2005, more than 33,000 books have been distributed to nearly 1,000 Great Stories Clubs, sparking conversations among teen readers in 49 states and the District of Columbia.

Funding supports “Building Common Ground” program

In June, PPO announced that it had received funding from the Fetzer Institute to support “Building Common Ground: Discussions of Community, Civility, and Compassion,” a multi-format discussion program for public audiences. By bringing adult audiences together in the library for programs and events that include reading, viewing, reflection, discussion, and civic engagement initiatives, this program is supporting public libraries as they strive to enhance the quality of life and learning in their communities. Following a competitive application, conversations will be convened in 30 public libraries in 2012.

Talking about the Civil War

Let's Talk About It, 25th anniversary, 1982-2007“Let’s Talk About It: Making Sense of the American Civil War” follows the popular Let’s Talk About It model, which engages participants in discussion of a set of common texts selected by a nationally known scholar for their relevance to a larger, overarching theme. The PPO and the NEH announced that 65 public, academic and community college libraries will host “Let’s Talk About It: Making Sense of the American Civil War” reading and discussion program grants. The selected libraries received a cash grant to support program expenses and program support materials, including 30 copies of three titles, promotional materials, and training for the local project director.


On the road with the PPO

In 2011, PPO toured eight ongoing traveling exhibitions to 82 public, academic, and special libraries, reaching an estimated audience of nearly 100,000 library patrons: “Benjamin Franklin: In Search of a Better World,” “Forever Free: Abraham Lincol1n’s Journey to Emancipation,” “Harry Potter’s World: Renaissance Science, Magic, and Medicine,” “John Adams Unbound,” “Lewis & Clark and the Indian Country,” “Lincoln: The Constitution and the Civil War,” “Pride and Passion: The African American Baseball Experience,” and “Visions of the Universe: Four Centuries of Discovery.”

In addition, five new traveling exhibitions were announced and two currently traveling exhibitions received additional support to extend their reach. Three of the new traveling exhibits were developed with Nextbook, Inc., a nonprofit dedicated to supporting Jewish literature, culture, and ideas: “In a Nutshell: The Worlds of Maurice Sendak,” “Emma Lazarus: Voice of Liberty, Voice of Conscience,” and “A Fine Romance: Jewish Songwriters, American Songs, 1910–1965,” which highlights the lives and works of Irving Berlin, George and Ira Gershwin, Harold Arlen, Jerome Kern, and other Jewish songwriters. The national tours of the exhibits are funded by grants from the Charles H. Revson Foundation, the Righteous Persons Foundation, the David Berg Foundation, and an anonymous donor, with additional support from Tablet Magazine: A New Read on Jewish Life.

Forty public and academic libraries will host “Manifold Greatness: The Creation and Afterlife of the King James Bible,” a new traveling exhibition developed by PPO and the Folger Shakespeare Library with funding from the NEH; the exhibit will travel through July 2013. PPO, in partnership with the National Center for Interactive Learning at Space Science Institute, the Lunar and Planetary Institute, and the National Girls Collaborative Project, announced that 10 public libraries will host an interactive traveling exhibition called “Discover Earth: A Century of Change” for periods of eight weeks through December 2013. The exhibition focuses on local earth science topics—such as weather, water cycle and ecosystem changes—as well as a global view of our changing planet.

Two hundred sites, including libraries, museums, community centers, heritage organizations and institutions of higher learning, will host “Lincoln: The Constitution and the Civil War,” an exhibition developed in partnership with the National Constitution Center and with support from the NEH. The exhibition will visit each site for a period of six weeks through December 2015. Following the positive response to the ongoing tour of 50 public, academic, and special libraries, funding from the NEH will support the expansion of this exhibit tour to reach 200 communities through libraries and other centers for community learning.

Nine more public libraries will host “Visions of the Universe: Four Centuries of Discovery,” a traveling exhibition developed in cooperation with the Space Telescope Science Institute Office of Public Outreach and the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory to celebrate astronomy and its contributions to society and culture. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration provided major funding for the exhibit. Fifty-five public libraries hosted the exhibit from January 2009 through May 2011, showing the public how our understanding of the universe has changed over time. The exhibit will travel to the nine libraries through June 2012.

PLA helps libraries deliver back-to-school health info

In partnership with Merck Pharmaceuticals and, the PLA distributed back-to-school health brochures to 300 libraries. Each participating library received a $50 honorarium along with a display unit and 300 Fresh New School Year! brochures covering such topics as smart snacks, calming first-day jitters, staying safe online, and questions to ask your child’s doctor.

AASL teams up with Capstone

American Association of School LibrariansThe American Association of School Librarians (AASL) and Capstone teamed up to enhance AASL membership by offering new or renewing AASL members 10,000 Capstone Rewards points redeemable for books by Capstone and their collective imprints. In addition, members automatically received a subscription to the AASL’s professional journal, Knowledge Quest; the opportunity to apply for more than $50,000 in AASL awards and grants; reduced registration rates on conferences and continuing education; and discounts on professional and educational publications on a variety of topics.

AASL launches interactive planning and advocacy tool

AASL joined with Britannica Digital Learning to co-publish an online, interactive planning module to assist with school library program development and implementation. “A Planning Guide for Empowering Learners” is a program evaluation, planning, implementation, and advocacy tool to ensure that school library program planners go beyond the basics to provide goals, priorities, criteria, and general principles for establishing effective library programs. The guide includes a revised “School Library Program Rubric,” a tool that allows school librarians to assess their programs on 16 different sets of criteria.

AASL publishes series of advocacy brochures

Developed and distributed through a grant from the Bound to Stay Bound Books Foundation, AASL published a new advocacy tool to help school librarians generate and guide discussion with stakeholders about quality school library programs. Designed to speak to administrators, policymakers, parents, and teachers, the School Library Programs Improve Student Learning brochures outline goals and key questions specific to each audience. As part of the AASL’s continuing advocacy for the recognition of school librarians as indispensable educational leaders, the AASL mailed 50,000 elementary and middle school principals a copy of the administrator brochure.

YALSA celebrates Books with Beat, Teen Read Week 2010

Young Adult Library services AssociationMore than 3,500 libraries joined in Teen Read Week, celebrated October 17–23, with the theme “Books with Beat @ your library.” The week-long initiative from YALSA encouraged teens to visit their school or public library and listen to audiobooks and read books about music or poetry, among other topics, for the fun of it.


Teen Tech Week promotes non-print resources

The fourth annual Teen Tech Week, held March 6–12 with the theme “Mix & Mash @ your library” drew registration from more than 1,700 libraries to participate in the week-long event. Teen Tech Week encourages teens to explore the non-print resources available at their libraries, including DVDs, databases, audiobooks, and electronic games; it also urges teens to learn how to safely and properly navigate these new technologies. Promotional partners included ALA Graphics,, the Margaret Edwards Trust, and; and the Federal Trade Commission are nonprofit supporters.

WrestleMania Reading Challenge

The 2011 WrestleMania Reading Challenge, sponsored by YALSA and World Wrestling Entertainment, attracted more than 1,800 libraries. This year, the challenge opened to school libraries serving youngsters in grades 5–12 in Canada and the United States. Participants read books, magazines, or graphic novels over a period of 10 weeks and then created individual projects to promote reading. Regional finalists were chosen by a committee of YALSA members, with 20 regional winners getting a chance to compete in the WrestleMania Reading Challenge World Finals in Atlanta. Winners in three grade categories got to sit in ringside seats at WrestleMania XXVI as well as $2,000 for their libraries to use toward materials for their tween and teen collections.

Campaign for America’s Libraries

Step Up to the Plate @ your library

Step Up to the Plate @ your library 2011Season five of the Step Up to the Plate @ your library program, developed by ALA and the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, concluded with a grand-prize drawing at the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York. Hall of Famer Andre Dawson chose Josh Smith, 13, of Haverhill, Massachusetts, as the winner. The program encouraged fans of all ages to use the print and electronic resources at their library to answer a series of baseball trivia questions. Step Up to the Plate celebrated the role the Hall of Fame plays in preserving the history of baseball, with questions developed by the library staff at the Hall of Fame about exhibits at the museum. The sixth season of the program launched to coincide with Major League Baseball opening day in March.


Connect with your kids @ your library

Connect with your kids @ your libraryLaunched at the Annual Conference, Connect with your kids @ your library promotes the library as a trusted place to spend quality time with children by making parents aware of all the free high-quality programs at the library for parents and their children and teens.

Campaign partner Lifetime Networks provided ALA with a grant to support the development of two television public service announcements and donated airtime to the PSAs, which feature families visiting the library. The activities that they engage in at the library—reading together, computer use, discovering their family tree—are augmented with custom animation to convey the excitement of family adventures.

Scholastic Parent & Child magazine, the campaign’s magazine media sponsor, donated ad space to the campaign in the magazine and will run additional ads through May 2012.

In addition to the PSAs, ALA distributed nearly 90,000 Family Activity Guides to libraries in 64 markets nationwide. The guide includes tips for parents and caregivers on spending quality time with their children and teens in the library, at home or out in the community with resources from the public or school library. Libraries can download the guide in English and Spanish, along with other materials from the Connect with your kids website.

The American Dream Starts @ your library

In 2010, the Dollar General Literacy Foundation provided funding for a second round of The American Dream Starts @ your library literacy initiative. Seventy-five public libraries in 24 states were selected to receive $5,000 each to build innovative literacy services for adult English Language Learners living in their communities. The grant recipients include libraries in large cities and rural towns throughout Dollar General’s market area. The libraries expanded their print and digital literacy collections, offered classes and conversation clubs, developed mobile tech labs and reached out to immigrant organizations. The program is administered by the Office for Literacy and Outreach Services.

Smart investing @ your library provides financial education resources

Smart Investing @ your libraryIn February, the Smart investing @ your library® program gave $1.4 million in grants to 20 recipients to help them provide patrons with effective, unbiased financial education resources. Jointly administered by the Reference and User Services Association and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Investor Education Foundation, the program also offered a Taking a Blended Approach to PR in a Web 2.0 World webinar and enhanced its online presence with a redesigned website offering downloadable tools, multimedia materials to publicize programs, survey instruments, and staff training templates, as well as a new YouTube channel featuring videos developed by grantees.

In its first four years, Smart investing@your library® has awarded $4.69 million in grants and grown a network of dozens of grantees representing more than 600 library facilities that together serve almost 23 million people.

Campaign for the World’s Libraries

Campaign for the World's LibrariesThe Library Association of Barbados (LAB) and the Library Association of the Republic of China (Taiwan) became the newest members of the Campaign for the World’s Libraries in 2011.

Other library associations around the world expanded their @ your library programs in 2011. The Library and Information Association of South Africa (LIASA) celebrated South African Library Week March 19–26 by translating the theme, Read in your own language @ your library, into the country’s 11 national languages. LIASA chose the theme to highlight the key role libraries in South Africa play in developing a reading culture and in the preservation and promotion of all South African languages.

Ireland celebrated the sixth annual Library Ireland Week March 7–13, 2011, using the Campaign for America’s Libraries’ @ your library brand as well as the theme “Smart people use smart libraries” on promotional materials for Library Ireland Week, which highlights the role that libraries, librarians, and other information professionals play in the country. Materials included printed and downloadable posters, a bookmark, and a short video that was featured on the Huffington Post.

The Library and Information Association of Jamaica launched its @ your library campaign in partnership with the Jamaica Library Service, the Public Library Network, and the School Library Network to provide reading activities under the theme, “Learn to Read-Read to Learn @ your library.” The objective of the partnership included developing lifelong voluntary readers and promoting the role and function of libraries and librarians.

In Poland, the U. S. Embassy launched “Ameryka w twojej bibliotece” (America @ your library), a program to provide books about America as well as English language learning materials and resources to local libraries in Poland. In support of its campaign, the @ your library logo is now available to all libraries in Polish from the @ your library website.

The Campaign for the World’s Libraries was developed by ALA and the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) to showcase the unique and vital roles played by public, school, academic, and special libraries worldwide. To date, almost 40 countries have joined the campaign, and the @ your library brand has been translated into 32 languages.