Program and Partners

Beyond Words gives $179,000 for school library disaster relief

Beyond Words logo

Beyond Words issued grants to 20 school library media programs nationwide in 2008-2009, providing more than $179,000 for public school libraries that have sustained materials losses because of a major disaster. The Beyond Words grants, sponsored by national discount retailer Dollar General, can be used to buy books, media, and/or library equipment that support learning in a school library environment. The American Association of School Librarians administers the program in collaboration with the National Education Association.

Toyota grant provides books on Japanese culture to 200 libraries

Through a $100,000 grant from the Toyota Motor Corporation, ALA provided more than 200 public libraries in 45 states with a set of 50 books on modern Japanese culture and literature. Half the libraries receiving the books serve populations smaller than 25,000. Many of the libraries highlighted these new collections with programming.

500 join national library summit webcast

More than 500 librarians and literacy advocates participated in the Literacy for ALL: Advocacy, Libraries, and Literacy webcast in April 2009. The national library literacy summit, sponsored by the National Institute for Literacy in partnership with ALA’s Committee on Literacy, addressed literacy across the lifespan in all types of libraries. Speakers included 2008–2009 COL Chair Sandra Newell and 2008–2009 ALA President Jim Rettig. The webcast is archived at

Gaming toolkit released

The Librarian’s Guide to Gaming: An Online Toolkit for Building Gaming @ your library was released in February 2009. Funded by the Verizon Foundation, this field-driven toolkit includes an array of gaming-related resources, tools, and tips designed to help any library add board and video gaming activities to their menu of services. The toolkit also includes advice and lessons learned from trend-setting and award-winning gaming librarians.

“Turning the Page” draws to a close

Turning the Page logo

“Turning the Page: Building Your Library Community” was developed by the Public Library Association as a required educational component for public libraries participating in the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Opportunity Online hardware grants program. Funded by a $7.7-million grant from the foundation, the program began in March 2008. The third and final round of grantee conferences wrapped up in November 2009, with one more event for non-grantees held at the PLA’s 2010 National Conference in Portland, Ore. More than 3,000 participants from 32 states attended Turning the Page conferences; another 500 completed the online version.

During the two-day training seminars, library staff, trustees, and community supporters explored the skills integral to successful advocacy campaigns. The immediate goal involved raising matching grant funds, but those who participated were empowered with the practical tools and confidence to undertake long-term efforts on behalf of their institutions. Results have been positive, with a majority of libraries making the necessary match. The director of the August County (Virginia) Library echoed a popular sentiment when she said: “While attendance was an Opportunity Online grant requirement, it proved to be one of the best experiences we had ever had.”

The PLA’s involvement in the Opportunity Online hardware grant program concludes May 31, 2010.

ALSC produces reading list for Oprah site

The Oprah Winfrey Show approached the Association for Library Service to Children to recommend titles for its Kids Reading List, which showcases recent and classic titles on the show’s website. The ALSC’s Quicklist Virtual Committee developed an annotated list, which brought a record number of hits to the Oprah site.

We the People Bookshelf: “Picturing America”

Picturing America logo

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the Public Programs Office partnered to present the sixth We the People Bookshelf, which each year gives sets of books based on a chosen theme to libraries nationwide. The 2009 program provided sets of 17 classic children’s books on the theme “Picturing America” to 4,000 public and school libraries. Library programs around the theme will take place nationally through May 2010. The 2010–2011 theme is “A More Perfect Union.”

NEH, PPO give 26,300 sets of American art

In January 2009, the NEH and the ALA Public Programs Office announced that 26,300 public libraries and schools would receive sets of high-quality reproductions of 40 pieces of great American art (each about 24 by 36 inches), as part of the NEH’s Picturing America initiative. Each set came with an illustrated teacher’s resource book with information about the artists and artwork plus lesson ideas for all grade levels to facilitate the use of the reproductions in core subject areas. For more information, visit

Great Stories CLUB reaches out to underserved teens

Great Stories Club logo

In January 2009, 237 libraries were chosen to receive 11 sets of three theme-related books to give to members of a reading club. The sets were granted through the Great Stories CLUB (Connecting Libraries, Underserved teens, and Books), a reading and discussion program designed to reach underserved, troubled teen populations through books that are relevant to their lives. Launched in 2005 by the PPO and the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), the program is built on partnerships between libraries and other organizations that serve troubled teens, including juvenile-justice facilities, alternative high schools, drug-rehabilitation centers, nonprofits serving teen parents, and other agencies.

Among those selected to receive grants, 53 sites will also receive small cash grants to support program-related expenses. Funding was provided for this program by Oprah’s Angel Network. For more information, visit

Soul of a People: Voices from the Writers’ Project

In December 2008, the PPO announced that 30 libraries would receive $2,500 grants from the NEH to present five different outreach programs in connection with the documentary “Soul of a People: Voices from the Writers’ Project.” Film and library outreach programs acquainted public, academic, and special library audiences with the story of the largest cultural experiment in U.S. history—the Federal Writers’ Project of the Works Progress Administration—told against the backdrop of the Depression and 1930s America.

On tour: PPO traveling exhibitions

Visions of the Universe logo

The PPO toured seven ongoing traveling exhibitions across the country, visiting a total of 88 public, academic, and special libraries in 2008-2009. The exhibitions were “Alexander Hamilton: The Man Who Made Modern America,” “Benjamin Franklin: In Search of a Better World,” “Changing the Face of Medicine: Celebrating America’s Women Physicians,” “Forever Free: Abraham Lincoln’s Journey to Emancipation,” “John Adams Unbound,” “Lewis and Clark and the Indian Country,” and “Pride and Passion: The African American Baseball Experience.”

In addition, the PPO announced tours for three new traveling exhibitions:

  • “Lincoln: The Constitution and the Civil War” offers a fresh perspective on Abraham Lincoln that focuses on his struggle to meet the political and constitutional challenges of the Civil War. The exhibition explores how Lincoln used the Constitution to confront three intertwined crises of the war: the secession of Southern states, slavery, and wartime civil liberties. Twenty-five public, academic, and special libraries will host the exhibit from August 2009 through October 2013. The traveling exhibition and tour are funded by a major grant from the NEH to the National Constitution Center.
  • “Visions of the Universe: Four Centuries of Discovery”features astronomy through the ages, from Galileo’s early findings to the latest results of the Hubble Space Telescope. The exhibit vividly illustrates 400 years of growth in our knowledge of not only planets, stars, nebulae, and galaxies but also the size and scale of the universe in both space and time. Forty public libraries will host the exhibit for a six-week period from January 2009 through April 2010. The traveling exhibition was developed in cooperation with the Space Telescope Science Institute Office of Public Outreach and the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory to mark the International Year of Astronomy in 2009. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration provided major funding for the exhibit.
  • “Harry Potter’s World: Renaissance Science, Magic, and Medicine”uses materials from the National Library of Medicine’s History of Medicine collections to explore Harry Potter’s world, its roots in Renaissance science, and the ethical questions that affected not only the wizards in J.K. Rowling’s books but also the historical thinkers featured in the series. Exhibition panels feature the works of 15th- and 16th-century alchemists, naturalists, and occultists and explore the intersection between the Harry Potter novels and Renaissance thinkers, lore, and practices. Twelve libraries will host the special small-format exhibit for a four-week period between September 2009 and November 2010 and present at least two public programs on the exhibition themes. This traveling exhibit is presented by the PPO in cooperation with the National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.

4,800-plus libraries register for Teen Read Week

YALSA logo

More than 4,800 libraries registered to participate in Teen Read Week, the annual literacy initiative from YALSA. The 2008 theme, Books with Bite, promoted a variety of books—from vampire stories to cooking to technology—as tools for getting young adults to read for the fun of it. Corporate sponsorship by Mirrorstone again allowed YALSA to design, print, and distribute a calendar highlighting its initiatives and special events through American Libraries. YALSA also hosted a Teen Read Week kickoff event in Chicago at Benito Juarez Community Academy featuring Kimberly Pauley, author of Sucks to Be Me: The All-True Confessions of Mina Hamilton, Teen Vampire. Maybe. More than 8,000 teens voted on the 2008 Teens’ Top Ten, which was won by Eclipse, by Stephenie Meyer; teens also chose the 2009 theme, Read Beyond Reality @ your library. Promotional Partners for Teen Read Week 2008 were ALA Graphics, Evanced Solutions, Galaxy Press, Hachette Book Group USA/Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, Random House/Listening Library, Scholastic, School Library Journal, Walden Media, and Zest Books. Visit or for more information.

YALSA celebrates third Teen Tech Week

Teen Tech Week logo

With the theme Press Play @ your library, the third annual Teen Tech Week, held March 8–14, 2009, again encouraged teens to explore the nonprint resources available at their libraries. Through funding from the Verizon Foundation, YALSA distributed $10,000 in mini-grants to 20 librarians. Galaxy Press provided six public service announcements featuring Tom Kenny, the voice of SpongeBob SquarePants, to promote the event. Promotional Partners for Teen Tech Week 2008 were Evanced Solutions, Galaxy Press, Rosen Publishing, Simon & Schuster,, and the Verizon Foundation. was a 2009 Nonprofit Supporter. More information on Teen Tech Week is available at

Support Teen Literature Day distributes 8,000 teen books to pediatric hospitals

The third annual Support Teen Literature Day was held April 16, 2009, in conjunction with National Library Week. Support Teen Literature Day helps raise awareness about teen literature and serves as the launch for each year’s Teen Read Week. YALSA worked with the Readergirlz ( and Guys Lit Wire ( Operation TBD (Teen Book Drop), which in 2009 saw 18 publishers donating 8,000 teen books to pediatric centers in the United States and Canada, will take place again on Support Teen Literature Day 2010.

WrestleMania Reading Challenge

More than 1,600 libraries took up the 2009 WrestleMania Reading Challenge, sponsored by YALSA and World Wrestling Entertainment, with support from Mattel. In 2009, participation extended to include those in grades 5–12. The challenge begins Teen Read Week and encourages participating youth to read beyond Teen Read Week by offering prizes and incentives. Fifteen finalists in three categories won trips to WrestleMania XXV in Houston, plus $2,000 for their libraries.

Día wiki helps share ideas year-round

DIA brochure

The Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) is the national center for El día de los niños/El día de los libros (Children’s Day/Book Day). In 2009, more than 400 libraries registered their celebrations with the ALSC, and more than 28,000 complimentary bilingual brochures were distributed. A Día wiki, accessible from the Día home page at, was launched, offering a forum for idea-sharing for programming and celebrations.

Pilot “Read to Grow” program gets help from ALSC

The ALSC participated in the launch of a “Read to Grow” pilot community outreach program by media and marketing research firm Arbitron. The first “Read to Grow” event was held during the Calle Ocho festival in Miami on March 15, 2009. The ALSC provided materials for distribution about the Pura Belpré Award, as well as Día and Born to Read. Arbitron distributed copies of Martina, the Beautiful Cockroach: A Cuban Folktale, a 2008 Belpré Honor Book for illustration, and The Storyteller’s Candle, a 2009 Belpré Author Honor Book. The ALSC participated in a second “Read to Grow” event on April 26 during “Fiesta Broadway” in Los Angeles.

ALSC partners on Week of the Young Child

ALSC logo

The ALSC partnered with the National Association for the Education of Young Children on the Week of the Young Child project April 19-25, 2009. The WOYC is an annual celebration designed to focus public attention on the needs of young children and their families and to recognize the early childhood programs and services that meet these needs.

ALSC events encourage the gift of time

Drop Everything And Read logo 

Two ALSC events encourage giving the gift of time. Celebrated on Newbery Medalist Beverly Cleary’s birthday April 12, Drop Everything and Read (DEAR) Day encourages families to designate time to put aside other activities and read together. The initiative features Ramona Quimby as its official “spokesperson.” Visit Through ALSC outreach to members, 55 libraries participated in the Boys and Girls Clubs Day for Kids, which is intended to celebrate America’s children through the gift of meaningful time with a positive adult, on September 20, 2008. Further information is available on the BGC website at

ALSC promotes Read for the Record

The ALSC helped publicize Jumpstart’s Read for the Record event, an annual one-day reading promotion that encourages children all over the country to read the same book on the same day, with the goal of gaining entry into the Guinness Book of World Records. The book chosen for the October 2, 2008, event was Corduroy. Visit for more information.

The Campaign for America’s Libraries 

Step Up to the Plate @ your library

@ Your Library Campaign for American Libraries logo

The Step Up to the Plate @ your library program, developed by ALA and the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, concluded with a drawing at the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York. Step Up to the Plate spokesperson and Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith chose Oscar Youngquist, 11, of Racine, Wisconsin, as the grand-prize winner.

Sharon Robinson photo

Sharon Robinson with images of her father.

The fourth season of the program kicked off during Youth Baseball Week April 13–19, 2009, and was a featured program during the week’s celebration at the National Baseball Hall of Fame. The program once again centered on a baseball trivia contest, with this year’s questions, developed by the library staff at the Hall of Fame, focusing on multiculturalism in baseball and baseball around the world.

The Campaign also teamed up with ALA’s Public Programs Office to host “Pride and Passion: The African American Baseball Experience” at the 2009 ALA Annual Conference. The program’s panelists included Lawrence R. Hogan, author of Shades of Glory: The Negro Leagues and the Story of African-American Baseball; author Sharon Robinson, daughter of Jackie Robinson; Coretta Scott King Book Award winner Kadir Nelson, author and illustrator of We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball; and the PPO’s Susan Brandehoff.

“En tu biblioteca” promotes libraries to Latino communities

Launched in September 2008 at the national conference of REFORMA (the National Association to Promote Library and Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish Speaking), the “en tu biblioteca” campaign was developed to encourage members of the Latino community to use their local libraries. Univision Radio, the nation’s largest Spanish-language radio broadcaster, aired public service announcements (PSAs) in 13 of the country’s top Latino markets in the fall and spring, with a combined value of $1 million in donated air time.

ALA and Univision Radio developed the PSAs, which feature the voices of Univision Radio personality Javier Romero and Illinois librarian Semiramis M. Grady. With a message of “Yo te puedo ayudar” (“I can help you”), the campaign presents the librarian as a trusted provider of information and support, capable of providing access to the wide range of opportunities represented by the local library.

A Spanish-language website for the public at supports the messages of the radio PSAs. Librarians can listen to the radio PSAs as well as download free posters, flyers, and bookmarks.

Smart investing @ your library helps patrons in tough economic times

In April 2009, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Investor Education Foundation and ALA’s Reference and User Services Association offered a new resource for libraries to help people cope with tough economic times through the Smart investing @ your library program.

FINRA’s Investor Alert brochure “Job Dislocation: Making Smart Financial Choices after a Job Loss” offers guidance and tips for the general public on maintaining financial stability during a period of unemployment. Topics covered include taking the right financial steps, protecting against investment fraud, understanding health insurance options, and asking appropriate questions about employer benefit plans. Public libraries can request printed brochures or download it from FINRA’s website. The brochure is available in both English and Spanish.

Since 2007, Smart investing @ your library has issued $1.7 million in grants to 25 libraries nationwide for the development of financial education programs. The program is designed to build the capacity of public libraries to provide effective, unbiased financial and investor education resources and services to library patrons.

Woman’s Day publishes “How I used the library to improve my health”

Women's Day magazine logo

Continuing an eight-year partnership with the Campaign for America’s Libraries, Woman’s Day magazine featured the four winners of its latest library initiative, which asked readers how they used the library to improve a family member’s or their own emotional, mental, or physical health. Winners included Elaine Elinson of San Francisco, who found solace in the library when her husband was ill; Amy A. Smith of Minneapolis, who used the resources at her library to learn about her postpartum depression; Carol Strazer of Red Feather Lakes, Colorado, who was able to make an informed health choice thanks to the research training offered at her library; and Linda Slayton of Des Moines, Iowa, who, after losing her eyesight, used books on tape provided by the Library of Congress to rediscover her love of reading.

Also in the March issue, the magazine announced its next initiative, which asks women to submit stories of how the library has helped them save money during tough economic times. One submission will be featured in the March 2010 issue, and three others will appear on

34 libraries get the American Dream Starts @ your library grants

The American Dream Starts @ your library grant, developed by ALA and funded through Campaign partner Dollar General Literacy Foundation, awarded funding to 34 public libraries to add or expand literacy services for adult English-language learners.

An American Dream Starts @ your library online toolkit at houses resources, service models, and examples of best practices collected from libraries currently offering literacy services for new Americans. The toolkit was expanded in early 2009 to feature new online resources and in-depth profiles of each of the 34 American Dream libraries. The program is administered by the ALA Office for Literacy and Outreach Services.

Thinkfinity @ your library offers collection for school librarians

ThinkFinity logo

Using the Campaign for America’s Libraries @ your library brand, Verizon’s featured librarian-specific content from ALA and library initiatives in a collection of resources specifically for school library media specialists. The Thinkfinity @ your library page showcases materials collected from Thinkfinity content partners and includes discipline-specific, standards-based educational resources on current subject areas. It also highlighted events such as Youth Media Month, School Library Media Month, and El día de los niños, El día de los libros. is the Verizon Foundation’s comprehensive program and online portal to 55,000 standards-based, grade-specific, K-12 lesson plans and other educational resources provided in partnership with many of the nation’s leading educational and literacy organizations.

Latvia and Romania associations join Campaign for the World’s Libraries

Campaign for the World's Libraries logo

The Latvian Library Association and the Romania Library Association both joined the Campaign for the World’s Libraries in 2009.

The Library and Information Association of South Africa (LIASA), a campaign member since 2007, used the @ your library brand to promote libraries as learning resources with two campaigns during South African Library Week March 16–20, 2009: “Race for knowledge @ your library” for children and “The race for knowledge continues . . . @ your library” for adults.

The Association of Greek Librarians and Information Scientists, a campaign member since 2002, highlighted the @ your library brand at the 2009 International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) Conference in Milan, Italy. George Glossiotis, vice president of the association, presented a report on the country’s use of the @ your library brand and also distributed calendars using the brand.

The Campaign for the World’s Libraries was developed by ALA and IFLA to showcase the unique and vital roles played by public, school, academic, and special libraries worldwide. To date, 35 countries have joined the campaign, and the @ your library brand has been translated into each country’s language. New logos reflecting the national colors of each member’s nation were made available for download during National Library Week 2009.

Other campaign notes

Kids! @ your library provides new resources

The Association for Library Service to Children officially launched phase two of the Kids! @ your library campaign at the “A.R.T. and Your Library: How You Can Bring Them Together!” program at ALA Annual Conference in Chicago.

Phase two incorporates additional free materials into the campaign’s online toolkit to help librarians promote the library and library resources to children in grades 5-8. New tools include free downloadable “So much to see. So much to do. @ your library” mini-posters and bookmarks as well as print-ready art designed by award-winning children’s book illustrator and graphic designer David Diaz. Additional materials include two new readers’ theater scripts based on the work of Christopher Paul Curtis and Jerry Spinelli, library activities and games, and two new poetry resources: “15 Ways to Use Poetry @ your library” and “Poetry Programs @ your library.”