2013 Coretta Scott King Book Donation Grants to help schools, public libraries expand and enhance collections

For Immediate Release
Tue, 04/02/2013

Contact:

John Amundsen
Communications Specialist
Office for Literacy and Outreach Services (OLOS)
1-800-545-2433 ext. 2140
jamundsen@ala.org

CHICAGO – The Jefferson County Library in Fayette, Miss., Talahi Elementary School in St. Cloud, Minn. and Tap In Leadership Academy in Champaign, Ill. have been selected as recipients of the 2013 Coretta Scott King Book Donation Grants.

Awarded each Spring by the Coretta Scott King Book Awards Committee, the grant program donates books originally submitted for consideration for the Coretta Scott King Book Awards to libraries, schools and other organizations to enhance collections. Three libraries are selected from a field of dozens of applicants that demonstrate need and potential benefit from receiving the collection. All three libraries will receive more than 100 titles submitted to the 2013 Coretta Scott King Book Awards, including a full set of the 2013 winner and honor titles.

The Jefferson County Library serves a rural community of 7,600 people 80 miles southeast of Mississippi’s capital, Jackson. The community has struggled with chronically high unemployment, high poverty levels and struggling schools. The only public library in a two-county area, Jefferson County Library provides a wide range of services but must cope with limited resources. Despite the fact that more than 84 percent of the community the library serves is African-American, the collection lacks titles that convey the African-American experience.  “The placement of the Coretta Scott King collection in the library will ensure that these materials are available to all children in the area, said Marilyn Felton, branch manager at Jefferson County. “The same positive imagery that promises to change the perception of African-American children also holds the promised potential of changing the perception of all children towards African-American culture.”

Talahi Elementary School in St. Cloud, Minn. is unique in that 80% of its students are first generation Americans whose parents came from countries in Africa, including Somalia, Nigeria, South Africa and Kenya. With the implementation of $2 billion in state budget cuts, Talahi’s library will not have school district funding this year, aside from $800 from the PTA. The funding situation has prevented the library from obtaining culturally relevant materials, especially in need as 60% of Talahi’s students read below grade level. “These materials will add so much to the knowledge base of our children,” said Sara Martini, media specialist at Talahi . “To read about authors, scientists and veterans who have made contributions to our country is critical. (The Coretta Scott King Book Donation) books will strengthen our library so much.”

Tap In Leadership Academy in Champaign, Ill. is a non-profit after school and summer program for at-risk children. The home of the University of Illinois, Champaign County has the distinctions of being both the most highly educated county and third poorest county in the state, where 22 percent of its citizens live underneath the poverty line. To meet its mission to educate, equip and empower the youth in Champaign County, Tap In has developed a partnership with the University of Illinois Graduate School of Library and Information Science (GSLIS), which provides volunteers to help tutor and assist with planning after school activities. “Tap In is uniquely positioned to teach a large number of Champaign’s youth through the Coretta Scott King Book Donation Grant," said Jane Sandberg, director of information technology at Tap In. “These books would not just be the basis for a handful of isolated program that could be forgotten. Through our collaboration with GSLIS, we can use these books to provide strong, sustained programs that add value to children’s lives.”

The Coretta Scott King Book Awards are presented annually by the Coretta Scott King Book Awards Committee of the American Library Association’s Ethnic and Multicultural Information Exchange Round Table (EMIERT) to encourage the artistic expression of the African-American experience through literature and the graphic arts.

To learn more about the Coretta Scott King Book Donation Grant, please visit www.ala.org/csk.