Central Elementary School Library named inaugural winner of the Sara Jaffarian Award

Contact: Lainie Castle
Project Director, PPO
For Immediate Release
May 7, 2007


Central Elementary School Library named inaugural winner of the Sara Jaffarian Award


Award recognizes “Virtual Museum – A Day in the Neighborhood” humanities program


CHICAGO - The American Library Association (ALA) Public Programs Office (PPO) is pleased to announce that the Central Elementary School Library in Wilmette, Ill., is the inaugural winner of the Sara Jaffarian School Library Program Award for Exemplary Humanities Programming.   The award will be presented at the ALA Annual Conference in Washington, D.C., during the Opening General Session on Saturday June 23, 2007.


Central Elementary School Library will receive a plaque recognizing the achievement, a cash award of $4,000, and inclusion of the winning program in a national training session for model humanities programs.


Barbara Ungar, library media teacher at Central Elementary School, developed and submitted the winning program, entitled “Central School Third Grade Virtual Museum – A Day in the Neighborhood.” Participating students explored the American immigrant experience through primary source research, museum and ethnic neighborhood visits, local history discussions, literature, writing activities, art, music and dance. Program development included curriculum tie-in and collaboration lead by Ungar, involving the school’s third grade teachers, music teacher, art teacher, technology teacher and differentiated instruction specialist.


Now in its 10th year, the program culminates in the expansion of a “Virtual Museum” Web site, produced by students to demonstrate and share their learning. The Central Elementary School’s “Virtual Museum” is available online at http://www.wilmette39.org/virtualmuseum.


“Through the “Virtual Museum – A Day in the Neighborhood” program, Central Elementary School found a creative and exciting way to engage third grade students in understanding cultural diversity and their role as global citizens in a multicultural world,” said Carolyn Cain, chairperson of the Jaffarian Award selection committee. “Ungar and her colleagues successfully incorporated arts and humanities content with technology and hands-on learning to create a very student-centered program experience.  It is an outstanding humanities program that will serve as an excellent national model.”


The Sara Jaffarian Award was established in 2006 to recognize and promote excellence in humanities programming in elementary and middle school (K-8) libraries. It is presented annually by the Public Programs Office, in cooperation with the American Association of School Librarians (AASL), and named for Sara Jaffarian, whose donation to ALA’s Cultural Communities Fund established the award. Jaffarian, a retired school librarian and long-time ALA member, spent her career passionately advocating for school libraries in every school. The Sara Jaffarian Award is selected annually by a committee comprising members of the ALA Public and Cultural Programs Advisory Committee (PCPAC) and AASL.


Established in 1992, the ALA Public Programs Office provides leadership, resources, training, and networking opportunities that help all types of libraries develop and host cultural programs for adults, young adults, children and families. For more information about the Public Programs Office, the ALA Cultural Communities Fund and its Challenge Grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Sara Jaffarian Award, please visit the Public Programs Office Web site at www.ala.org/publicprograms.