Program and Partners

Office for Diversity receives IMLS grant for recruitment

spectrum scholarship The Office for Diversity and Spectrum Scholarship Program was awarded a $432,495 grant in June by the Institute of Museum and Library Services Laura Bush 21st-Century Librarian Program. The grant will fund a three-year project to recruit ethnically diverse high-school and college students to careers in libraries.

“Discovering Librarianship: The Future Is Overdue” will enlist a cohort of 35 early-career librarians from previously successful diversity initiatives, including the Spectrum scholarship program, to develop recruitment materials and serve as in-the-field recruiters to a new generation of professionals. Field recruiters will be provided with funding to participate in 70 national, regional, and local career recruitment and education events. ALA will host an institute for up to 50 college undergraduates interested in careers in librarianship, with information on preparing for graduate school admissions, selecting an LIS program, finding funding for graduate school, and making the most of graduate education in library and information science.

Beyond Words grants more than $90,000 for school library disaster relief

beyond words Beyond Words issued grants to eight school library programs in 2009–2010, totaling more than $90,000 for school libraries nationwide that have sustained materials losses because of a major disaster. The Beyond Words grant, sponsored by national discount retailer Dollar General and administered by the American Association of School Librarians in collaboration with the National Education Association, provides funds that can be used for buying books, media, and/or library equipment that support learning in a school library environment.

The American Dream Starts @ your library

american dream starts @your library In April 2010, ALA chose 75 public libraries in 24 states to receive $5,000 grants as part of “The American Dream Starts @ your library” literacy initiative. In large cities and rural towns throughout Dollar General’s market area, the American Dream libraries use grant funds to build innovative literacy services for adult English language learners and their families by expanding print and digital literacy collections, offering instruction in English as a second language (ESL) and citizenship, holding conversation clubs, developing mobile tech labs, and reaching out to community partners. Especially notable about the 2010 round was the awarding of grants to support mobile outreach to immigrant communities, especially bookmobile service. Videos of American Dream librarians discussing their successes, challenges, and goals are available at Additional information about the initiative, which is funded by the Dollar General Literacy Foundation, is available at

We the People Bookshelf: “A More Perfect Union”

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) collaborated with the Public Programs Office (PPO) for the seventh consecutive year to present We the People Bookshelf, which aims to encourage young people to read and understand great literature while exploring themes in American history through library programming. The 2010 program provided sets of 17 books for young readers on the theme “A More Perfect Union,” along with bonus materials for audiences of all ages, to 4,000 school and public libraries. Since 2003, the NEH and ALA have distributed 17,000 book sets to school and public libraries.

Great Stories CLUB reaches out to troubled teens

great stories club In 2010 the PPO, in cooperation with the Young Adult Library Services Association, chose 265 libraries to receive 11 sets of three theme-related books to provide to members of a reading club through the third round of the Great Stories CLUB (Connecting Libraries, Underserved teens, and Books), a reading and discussion program designed to reach troubled teens through books that are relevant to their lives. The program encourages libraries to work with community partners such as juvenile justice facilities, alternative high schools, drug rehabilitation centers, and other not-for-profits serving teens; since 2005, nearly 28,000 books have been distributed through 856 Great Stories CLUBs. Funding was provided by Oprah’s Angel Network.

Pilot program engages Chicago teens

In the summer of 2010, 512 teens met in nine Chicago Public Library branches to discuss American art, current issues, and ways to get involved in the community through a series of pilot programs titled “Engage! Teens, Art, and Civic Engagement.” Following the discussions, participants brainstormed action plans for improving their environment and undertook a variety of projects, including painting murals, planting community gardens, and installing sculpture in public spaces. Funding for the PPO pilot initiative was provided by grants from the Searle Funds at the Chicago Community Trust and the Terra Foundation for American Art.

Prime Time Family Reading Time expands

The Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities (LEH), in cooperation with the PPO, chose four states to participate in the national expansion of Prime Time Family Reading Time, the LEH’s award-winning family reading and discussion program designed specifically for underserved families with children ages 6 to 10. From fall 2010 to spring 2011, a total of 16 community libraries in Michigan, Arizona, Georgia, and Florida are hosting the program, which helps parents and children in selecting books and becoming active public library users.

On tour: PPO traveling exhibitions

The PPO toured nine ongoing traveling exhibits to 110 libraries, reaching an audience of 773,000 library patrons in 2009–2010: “ 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,” “ 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.”

Louisa May Alcott library outreach program

In May, the PPO announced that 30 libraries would receive grants of $2,500 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 is done in collaboration with the NEH and Nancy Porter and Harriet Reisen for Filmmakers Collaborative.

Picturing America program grants

picturing america In June, the PPO selected 30 libraries to receive $3,000 programming grants from the NEH to support public programs featuring the Picturing America collection. The selected programs represented a diverse group of program formats, including discussions of local history, musical performances, a photography contest, storytelling events, author visits, hands-on art workshops, a celebration of Native American heritage, scholarly lectures, and “Let’s Talk About It” reading and discussion programs.

“Día” gets new Facebook fan page

dia A new Facebook fan page provided daily program ideas as a countdown to April 30, the date on which El día de los niños/El día de los libros (Children’s Day/Book Day) is celebrated each year. Some 350 libraries registered for the 2010 event, receiving free brochures and gaining access to Día’s interactive, searchable database of information about events across the country as well as planning tools. Partners in 2010 included HarperCollins, which again provided a poster featuring tips for celebrating Día; Arte Publico Press; Charlesbridge Publishing; and Cinco Puntos Press.

ALSC promotes Read for the Record

The Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) helped promote JumpStart’s Read for the Record, an annual one-day event that encourages children across 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 selected for the October 8, 2009, event was The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle.

ALSC shares tips through Day for Kids

alsc logo ALSC members were invited to register and access online resources for the Boys and Girls Clubs Day for Kids, held September 12, 2009, to celebrate America’s children through the gift of meaningful time with a positive adult. One of the resources, the “Making Memories Family Activity Calendar,” is updated annually and includes tips provided by ALSC for reading with children.

3,800 libraries sign up for Teen Read Week

More than 3,800 libraries joined in Teen Read Week 2009, celebrated October 18–24 with the theme Read Beyond Reality @ your library. The weeklong literacy initiative of the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) encouraged teens to visit their school or public library and read something out of this world, just for the fun of it. Promotional partners included ALA Graphics; Evanced Solutions; Farrar, Straus & Giroux; Galaxy Press; Henry Holt; Little, Brown Books for Young Readers; Random House/Listening Library; and Walden Media.

YALSA celebrates Teen Tech Week

yalsa logo The Young Adult Library Services Association’s fourth annual Teen Tech Week, held March 7–13, 2010, drew more than 1,700 library registrants with the theme Learn Create Share @ your library. The weeklong initiative encourages teens to explore the non-print resources available at their libraries—including DVDs, databases, audiobooks, and electronic games—while encouraging teens to learn how to safely and properly navigate these new technologies. Promotional partners were ALA Graphics, Evanced Solutions, Galaxy Press, Rosen Publishing, and More information is available at

Support Teen Literature Day distributes books to tribal libraries

In 2010, YALSA worked with the Readergirlz, Guys’ Lit Wire, and If I Can Read, I Can Do Anything to distribute 10,000 young-adult books to libraries on native reservations and tribal lands on Support Teen Literature Day, April 15. The books, donated by YA publishers, were worth roughly $175,000. In its third year, Operation TBD (Teen Book Drop) is part of a massive effort by librarians, young adult authors, and avid readers to spur reading on a nationwide scale. Participating publishers included Abrams Books, Bloomsbury/Walker Books/Candlewick Press, Chronicle Books, Hachette Book Group, Boyds Mills Press, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Milkweed, Mirrorstone Books, Orca Book Publishers Scholastic, Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing, Tor/Forge/Starscape/Tor Teen/Roaring Brook Press, and Better World Books.

WrestleMania Reading Challenge

More than 1,600 libraries took up the 2010 WrestleMania Reading Challenge, sponsored by YALSA and World Wrestling Entertainment. This challenge was open to youngsters in grades 5–12 through school libraries in Canada and the United States. The challenge begins Teen Read Week and encourages participating youth to read beyond Teen Read Week by offering prizes and incentives. Participants read 10 books, magazines, or graphic novels over a period of 10 weeks and then created a slogan and bookmark design that promoted reading. Twenty-one finalists in three categories won trips to WrestleMania XXVI in Phoenix, plus $2,000 for their libraries.

Turning the Page turns last page, moves to online guide

After benefiting more than 3,500 librarians and library supporters across 32 states, the groundbreaking program Turning the Page: Building Your Library Community ended May 31. Begun in 2007 with a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the program provided advocacy training for public libraries participating in the Gates Foundation Opportunity Online hardware grants program.

The Public Library Association has now released the program as a free Web-based training guide that leads participants through the creation of an advocacy work plan. Library staff and supporters can 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.

A Fresh New School Year!

ALA and the Public Library Association (PLA) teamed up with Merck and to distribute “A Fresh New School Year!” booklets to 300 libraries across the country. Aimed at parents of 11- to 14-year-olds, the brochures offered tips on keeping kids happy and healthy as they returned to school. Topics addressed included calming first-day jitters, staying safe with digital media, and important questions to ask at back-to-school physicals. ALA received a $58,500 grant that partially covered the costs of administering this program.

The Campaign for America’s Libraries

Step Up to the Plate @ your library

campaign for america's libraries logo The Step Up to the Plate @ your library program, developed by ALA and the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, concluded its fourth season with a grand-prize drawing at the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York. Program spokesperson and Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith chose 11-year-old Elizabeth Ann Bishop of Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, as the winner.

Step Up to the Plate encourages fans of all ages to use the print and electronic resources at their library to answer a series of trivia questions focused on multiculturalism in baseball and baseball around the world. The program’s fifth season launched in April. Library staff at the Hall of Fame developed trivia questions reflecting the Hall of Fame’s role in preserving the history of baseball, with questions about exhibits at the museum.

Univision Radio promotes “En tu biblioteca”

en tu bibliotecaunivision radio For the second year in a row, Univision Radio, the nation’s largest Spanish-language radio broadcaster, aired Spanish-language public service announcements (PSAs) about the value of libraries and librarians. Launched at the September 2008 conference of REFORMA (the National Association to Promote Library & Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish Speaking), the “en tu biblioteca” campaign encourages members of the Latino community to use their local libraries. The campaign communicates how libraries create opportunities for Latino adults and their children by providing trusted help from librarians and free public access to information. A Spanish-language website for the public supports the messages of the radio PSAs and offers tools and materials for librarians looking to reach out to their Spanish-speaking audience. Materials include template flyers and bookmarks.

Woman’s Day publishes “How the library helped me in tough economic times”

Continuing a nine-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 resources at their libraries to save money and access resources to cope with economic tough times. Featured were the stories of Karen Schmidt of Camano Island, Washington, who uses the resources and programs at her library to help homeschool her son; Tammy Thomas of Stuarts Draft, Virginia, who used interlibrary loan to check out college textbooks; Stefanie Schmidt of Las Vegas, who used the library’s free resources to find her place in a new community; and Cassandra Robbers of Almond, New York, who used books from the library to learn how to renovate her 1880s home.
Also in the March issue, the magazine announced its next initiative, asking women to submit stories of why the library is important to their community. Four submissions will be featured in the March 2011 issue and on

75 libraries get American Dream Starts @ your library grants

In 2010, the Dollar General Literacy Foundation provided funding for a second round of The American Dream Starts @ your library literacy initiative, awarding 75 public libraries in 24 states $5,000 to build innovative literacy services for adult English language learners living in their communities. The grant recipients, including libraries in large cities and rural towns throughout Dollar General’s market areas, will expand their print and digital literacy collections, offer classes and conversation clubs, develop mobile tech labs, and reach out to immigrant organizations. The program is administered by the Office for Literacy and Outreach Services.

Jamaican library association joins Campaign for the World’s Libraries

ifla logoliaja logo The Library and Information Association of Jamaica (LIAJA) joined the Campaign for the World’s Libraries in 2009. Additionally, the Library and Information Association of South Africa (LIASA), a campaign member since 2007, once again used the @ your library brand to promote libraries during South African Library Week March 15–20, 2010. LIASA tied the event in with the World Cup, creating two posters featuring the slogans “Read the game, score @ your library” and “Eat, breathe, read soccer @ your library.” Along with posters, LIASA created bookmarks, reusable bags, and balloons featuring the slogan “Score @ your library.”

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, 36 countries have joined the campaign, and the @ your library brand has been translated into 29 languages.

Smart investing @ your library encourages resource-sharing

smart investing @your library With sections for lessons learned and downloadable tools, the redesigned website for Smart investing @ your library encourages grantees, grant applicants, or anyone interested in starting a financial literacy program to borrow and share resources and strategies. Through 2009, the program from the FINRA Investor Education Foundation and the Reference and User Services Association (RUSA) has awarded three rounds of grants totaling $3,256,122. More than 90 percent of first-round programs have been incorporated into regular operations budgets and are continuing beyond the grant cycle. Currently, 48 grants and 43 grantees are operating projects nationwide in more than 500 library facilities with a service population of 22.9 million people.

Smart investing @ your library is administered jointly by RUSA, a division of ALA, and the FINRA Investor Education Foundation. FINRA––the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority––is a partner in the Campaign for America’s Libraries.