School librarians invited to apply for $5,000 humanities programming prize

For Immediate Release
Mon, 02/01/2016


Sarah Ostman
Communications Manager
ALA Public Programs Office

CHICAGO — School libraries are invited to apply for a $5,000 award recognizing outstanding humanities programming in kindergarten through eighth grade, the American Library Association (ALA) Public Programs Office announced.

Nominations for the 2016 Sara Jaffarian School Library Program Award for Exemplary Humanities Programming must be received by May 6, 2016. Applications, award guidelines and a list of previous winners are available at

School libraries, public or private, that serve children in grades K-8 are eligible. Nominated programs must have taken place during the current school year (2015-16). Programs that are still in progress as of the award deadline are eligible, and libraries are encouraged to self-nominate.

Eligible humanities programs may be focused in many subject areas, including social studies, poetry, drama, art, music, language arts, foreign language and culture. Programs should focus on broadening perspectives and helping students understand the world and their place in it. They should be initiated and coordinated by the school librarian and exemplify the role of the library program in advancing the overall educational goals of the school.

Recent Jaffarian Award-winners have included:

  • The R.O.A.D. (Research, Observe, Analyze, Discover) I Travel, a genealogy program for eighth-graders at Perry Meridian Middle School (Indianapolis, Indiana)
  • Transforming Tales, a program that used fairy takes from around the world to serve as a creative introduction to global studies for third-graders at the Meadowbrook School of Weston (Weston, Massachusetts).
  • Who Are We?, a program that challenged seventh- and eighth-graders at the Inter-American Magnet School (Chicago) to explore the individual and collective behavior of human beings in a series of quarterly research projects.

Named after the late Sara Jaffarian, a school librarian and longtime ALA member, ALA’s Jaffarian Award was established in 2006 to recognize and promote excellence in humanities programming in elementary and middle-school libraries. It is presented annually by the ALA Public Programs Office in cooperation with the American Association of School Librarians (AASL). The award is selected annually by a committee comprising members of the ALA Public and Cultural Programs Advisory Committee (PCPAC), AASL and the Association for Library Services to Children (ALSC).

Funding for the Jaffarian Award is provided by ALA’s Cultural Communities Fund (CCF). In 2003, a challenge grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities kick-started a campaign to secure the future of libraries as cultural destinations within the community. Since then, CCF has grown to more than $1.9 million, serving libraries as they serve their communities through the highest quality arts and humanities programs. To contribute to CCF, visit

About the ALA Public Programs Office

ALA’s Public Programs Office provides leadership, resources, training and networking opportunities that help thousands of librarians nationwide develop and host cultural programs for adult, young adult and family audiences. The mission of the ALA Public Programs Office is to promote cultural programming as an essential part of library service in all types of libraries. Projects include book and film discussion series, literary and cultural programs featuring authors and artists, professional development opportunities and traveling exhibitions. School, public, academic and special libraries nationwide benefit from the office’s programming initiatives.

About the American Association of School Librarians

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

About the American Library Association

The American Library Association is the oldest and largest library association in the world, with approximately 55,000 members in academic, public, school, government and special libraries. The mission of the American Library Association is to provide leadership for the development, promotion and improvement of library and information services and the profession of librarianship in order to enhance learning and ensure access to information for all.