More than $1 million in relief awarded to school libraries impacted by natural disasters

For Immediate Release
Tue, 07/05/2011

Contact:

Jennifer Habley

AASL honors Dollar General Literacy Foundations for generous support

CHICAGO –The American Association of School Librarians (AASL), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), announces the distribution of more than $1 million in grants to school libraries affected by natural disasters through Beyond Words: The Dollar General School Library Relief Fund.  The program, a collaboration between AASL, ALA and the National Education Association (NEA), is fully funded by the Dollar General Literacy Foundation.

In honor of meeting and passing the $1 million mark, AASL recognized the Dollar General Literacy Foundation at a special reception during the ALA 2011 Annual Conference in New Orleans June 23-28, 2011.  The Million Dollar Mark reception was held Saturday, June 25 in the Morial Convention Center, Room 260-262.  Immediately following the reception at the AASL President’s program, AASL President Nancy Everhart presented the Dollar General Literacy Foundation with a plaque expressing the school librarian profession’s appreciation of the foundation’s support.

The school library community is extremely grateful for the generous financial support from the Dollar General Literacy Foundation,” said AASL President Nancy Everhart. “We sincerely appreciate the foundation’s recognition of the value of school libraries and hope that local governments will follow their example. Funding for school library programs is in jeopardy as thousands of students rely on the resources they contain to sharpen 21st century skills.”

Launched during the ALA 2006 Annual Conference in New Orleans, where librarians from all over the country witnessed the city’s rebuilding efforts after the devastation caused  by Hurricane Katrina, the fund has provided 113 school libraries with grants ranging from $5,000 to $15,000.

School libraries play an important role in providing our nation’s children with the educational resources needed to compete in the global marketplace,” said Rick Dreiling, Dollar General’s chairman and CEO. “We are proud to partner with the ALA and AASL in their mission to bring relief to school libraries most affected by these devastating disasters and hope our funding can help make the recovery and rebuilding process a little easier.”

Beyond Words provides funding to public schools affected by disasters to rebuild and expand library programs. The grants can be used to defray the cost of replacing or supplementing books, media and/or equipment in the school library. To be eligible for a Beyond Words grant, applicants must be located within 20 miles of a Dollar General Store, distribution center or corporate office and must represent public schools serving students in pre-kindergarten through grade 12. Grant applicants must also meet one of two eligibility requirements: the library must have lost its building or incurred substantial damage or hardship due to a natural disaster, fire, or an act recognized by the federal government as terrorism.

The American Association of School Librarians, www.aasl.org, a division of the American Library Association (ALA), promotes the improvement and extension of library services in elementary and secondary schools as a means of strengthening the total education program. Its mission is to advocate excellence, facilitate change and develop leaders in the school library field.

Dollar General is a leading discount retailer with more than 9,500 neighborhood stores in 35 states. Dollar General stores provide convenience and value to customers by offering consumable basic items such as food, snacks, health and beauty aids and cleaning supplies, as well as basic apparel, house wares and seasonal items at everyday low prices. The company has a longstanding tradition of supporting literacy and education. Since its inception in 1993, the Dollar General Literacy Foundation has awarded more than $58.6 million in grants to nonprofit organizations, helping more than 3.2 million individuals take their first steps toward literacy, a general education diploma or English proficiency. To learn more about Dollar General, visit www.dollargeneral.com.

The National Education Association is the nation's largest professional organization, representing 2.8 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators and students preparing to become teachers.  For more information, please visit www.nea.org.