Joann Sweetland Lum Memorial Grant

The Joann Sweetland Lum Memorial Grant aims to recognize a librarian who has a creative, innovative project that promotes literacy. Examples of literacy include, but are not limited to, digital, media, visual, computer, data, financial, civic/ethical, news, information, multicultural, and cultural. 

As a classroom teacher, a college professor, and a homeschooling mother, Joann Sweetland Lum was an advocate for and an avid user of libraries. Established in 2020, this annual $1,000 award is funded by friends and family of Joann Sweetland Lum.

“I first met Joann in 2007 when I was the Teen Participation Coordinator for YALSA in liaison to the BBYA Committee, when she brought her 4 children to Midwinter.  The two older girls were so well prepared, having read the books and had notecards for the titles to be discussed. This is a tribute to both Joann and Gregory in how important participation in YALSA was.  Joann wholeheartedly supported Gregory in his immersive involvement with YALSA for many years. She was a remarkable woman whom I had the privilege of knowing.”

- Jerene Battisti, family friend and YALSA member; Bakersfield, California

"I remember my sister, Joann Lum, from a very early age loving books. We girls would catalog all of our books and play library endlessly. Reading was a life-long passion, and she passed that on to her children. Joann made it a priority to not only take her children regularly to the library but to create one in her own home. Throughout the years, we could count on being updated on the latest children’s and young adult books because she was always in the know. She was an amazing resource. It didn't seem to matter where we were or how old our children were, we always found ourselves surrounded by books.”

- Janet Liscio, sister of Joann, Colchester, Vermont

Definition & Purpose

The Joann Sweetland Lum Memorial Grant aims to recognize a librarian who has a creative, innovative project that promotes literacy. Examples of literacy include, but are not limited to, digital, media, visual, computer, data, financial, civic/ethical, news, information, multicultural, and cultural. 

Eligibility

  • Applicants do not need to be a member of ALA/YALSA. However, before accepting the grant monies, the recipient must become a member of ALA/YALSA. Grant funds can be used to cover this cost.
  • Applicants must work for and with youth (ages 10-19) in a library setting. Library settings include public, university, community college, school, and special.
  • Only one application per applicant per award cycle.
  • Joann Sweetland Lum Grant recipients from the previous three years are ineligible to apply for the current year.

Award Criteria

Submissions will be judged based on:

  • Value in promoting literacy - The degree to which your proposed project has the potential to address youth literacy.
  • Extent of project impact - The degree to which youth will benefit from proposed project.
  • Sustainability  - The degree to which this project is sustainable after grant funds are expended.
  • Clarity and completeness -The degree to which the proposed project uses funds.

Application Materials

The Grant is designed to recognize a creative, innovative literacy project for and with youth (ages 10-19), therefore, the online application and supporting materials must include:

  • General Information - This basic information includes Grant Proposal Title, applicant’s name, name of library, position, mailing address, contact telephone number, contact email address, name of supervisor.
  • Description of your library and community - As this is a blind review, applicants will not name their library, city, state, etc. Applicant may include demographics (e.g. free/reduce lunch, minority populations, non-native English speakers, etc.). Applicant will provide a detailed description of  the library, the population and the community. Preference will be given to libraries serving populations under 50,000.
  • Project Description - This requirement will demonstrate how the applicant would use the grant funds to promote literacy. Preference will be given to outreach projects aimed at homeschoolers and their families.
  • Itemized Expense Sheet - Proposed expenses with items and costs are an estimate. The memorial grant funds will NOT cover 100% of the purchase of books and materials; general operating and administrative costs; production or purchase of merchandise intended for sale; transportation; and/or salaries.
  • Supervisor Support - The applicant’s supervisor will write a letter of support for the proposed literacy project.
  • Final report or video of the project - Grant recipient will write a detailed report or video to be shared with the YALSA community and to inspire potential future award applicants.

Click HERE to submit your online application.

Application and Timeline

Submit an online application by December 1 of each year.
December 1 - Online applications due 11:59 pm
December/January - Applications reviewed by committee 
February 1 - Grant recipient announced; other applicants notified.
February 15 - Grant funds distributed to grant recipient
March - November -- Grant implemented
November -- Grant recipient submits final report/video to YALSA

Contact

For further questions, contact the YALSA office, yalsa@ala.org