Beyond Words: the Dollar General School Library Relief Fund
Dollar General, in collaboration with the American Library Association (ALA), the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) and the National Education Association (NEA), is sponsoring a school library disaster relief fund for public school libraries in the states served by Dollar General.
Paul Robeson Malcolm X Academy
"The Beyond Words Catastrophic Grant would allow an opportunity at revitalizing and replacing vital reading materials that were destroyed by the fire we experienced in 2011,” said Paul Robeson Malcolm X Academy Principal Jeffrey Robinson. On May 10, 2011, a bolt of lightning hit the school, and the resulting blaze destroyed the entire building and school library collection. Teachers and students were forced to relocate, leaving behind both memories and learning materials.
Founded in 1989, Paul Robeson Malcolm X Academy was the first publicly-funded, African-centered school in America. The school library program centered on African and African-American materials, not only as a as a means of extending students' academic work, but to urge its students to continue their rich, cultural legacy. “With the intensified objectives of Detroit Public Schools to improve and increase reading literacy, the grant allows the purchase of books and related materials and equipment that will better prepare Paul Robeson Malcolm X Academy to meet the challenges of the school district and most of all the need of our students.”
Rowe Elementary School
Principal William Knittle experienced firsthand the devastation a fire can wreak on a school community. He describes the tragedy which struck Rowe Elementary School as part of its grant application: “During a violent summer storm on the afternoon of Aug. 4, 2012, lightening struck the Rowe Elementary School. The building was quickly engulfed in flames and, despite the assistance of over 125 firefighters from local communities, the entire school and 100 percent of the contents were lost in the fire. Fortunately, no one was in the building.” A neighboring school took in the displaced Rowe students and shared its library collection, but due to the crowded conditions other library program services have temporarily suspended.
“Instilling a life-long love of reading has always been part of our mission at the Rowe Elementary School,” said Knittle. “Our library has been a part of that mission and the heart of the school. After our building was destroyed, our students were left without the support that our library offered. This grant allows the students the opportunity to experience a beautiful, new, state-of-the-art library, ready to support learning of all kinds and at all levels.”