Dollar General renews support of school libraries impacted by natural disaster

For Immediate Release
Mon, 10/20/2014


Jennifer Habley

Manager, Web Communications

American Association of School Librarians (AASL)


CHICAGO — The Dollar General Literacy Foundation has renewed its commitment to the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) and school libraries across the country by dedicating an additional $258,000 in grants to AASL’s Beyond Words: The Dollar General School Library Relief Fund.  This donation brings the Dollar General Literacy Foundation’s support of rebuilding school libraries impacted by disaster to a total of $1.8 million.

In 2006, Dollar General, in collaboration with the American Library Association (ALA), the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) and the National Education Association (NEA), began sponsoring a school library disaster relief fund for public school libraries in the states served by Dollar General. AASL’s Beyond Words grant program supports public school libraries nationwide that have suffered materials losses because of a major disaster ranging from hurricanes, tornados, flood, earthquakes, fires or an act of terrorism. Funds can be used to replace or supplement books, media and/or library equipment within school libraries and can also be used to offset costs by those schools that have opened their doors to significant numbers of new students displaced by disaster.

“As part of Dollar General’s commitment to education, we want to ensure children have access to books,” said Denine Torr, Dollar General’s director of community initiatives.  “Through the Beyond Words grant program, we’re proud to help libraries rebuild and restore the limitless world of reading to students.”

In 2012, Dollar General expanded their support by increasing grant amounts and introducing two $50,000 catastrophic disaster relief grants. To qualify for a catastrophic award, eligible schools must have suffered a 90 percent or greater loss to the school library program.  At the recent American Library Association Annual Conference, Paul Robeson Malcolm X Academy in Detroit and Rowe Elementary School in Rowe, Mass., were presented with the second annual dispersal of grants. Both schools suffered devastating losses to their programs due to fire.

"Dollar General has a great tradition of supporting literacy through many grant programs," said Terri Grief, AASL president. "Its commitment to support libraries is incredible. The company has been an active supporter of school libraries with the Beyond Words program that provides emergency funds for schools who have had a disaster. We hope that no one every has to take advantage of this but what a comfort it is to know that it is there."

To date, more than $1.6 million dollars in grants have been awarded to more than 150 schools across the country.  In addition, the program features a comprehensive website devoted to disaster preparedness with resources and a toolkit to help school librarians prepare for and deal with natural disasters and terrorist acts. The application, toolkit and eligibility requirements can be found on the AASL website at

The American Association of School Librarians,, a division of the American Library Association (ALA), empowers leaders to transform teaching and learning. 

The Dollar General Literacy Foundation awards grants annually to schools, nonprofit organizations and libraries to support education and literacy in the communities where its customers, employees and their families live and work.  Available grants and a complete list of grant recipients are available at  Dollar General is a leading discount retailer with 10,000 stores in 40 states. The company has a longstanding tradition of supporting literacy and education. Since 1993, the Dollar General Literacy Foundation has awarded more than $71.2 million in grants to nonprofit organizations, helping more than 4.1 million individuals take their first steps toward literacy, a general education diploma or English proficiency. To learn more about Dollar General, visit