Inspire Collection Development Grant (Historical)

Sponsored by Marina "Marney" Welmers

Monetary Amount: up to $5,000

This grant is no longer available.  Information included on this page is for historical purposes. 


Through the generous donation of Marina “Marney” Welmers, an AASL member and retired middle school librarian, AASL is pleased to offer the Inspire Collection Development Grant, a grant so that an existing public middle or high school can extend, update, and diversify the book, online, subscription and/or software collections in their library in order to realize sustainable improvement in student achievement at their school. Purchasing can include books, online subscriptions and/or software collections, as well as accessibility extensions (hotspots, increased bandwidth, etc.).  The program is to satisfy the need to establish or supplement traditional print or online resources in the school library setting in order to realize sustainable improvement in student achievement at their school.

The Fund is $20,000 per year. The direct assistance grant shall be capped at $5,000. At least four grants per year will be awarded with the total number of grants determined by number of applicants, geographic distribution, and total unmet need as determined by the Jury. Of the total, at least two (2) grants up to $5,000 per year will be awarded to a public middle or high school that has 85% or more of its student population qualified for Free/Reduced Lunch (FRL) program.


  1. The applicant must be a publicly funded middle or high school, grades 5-12, and have an existing campus library. Each library, regardless of the variety of constituents it may serve, is limited to submission of one application.
  2. The grant is awarded to individual schools, not to districts; all schools in a given district are welcome to apply if they meet the criteria, but each school must submit an application that is specific to their needs.

  3. Private, parochial, independent, and home schools are not eligible. Charter schools can apply if they are publicly funded.

  4. The public middle or high school library must be located in the United States, with one staff position being held by a certified school librarian.

  5. If the school does not have a certified school librarian on campus staff, the applicant can still apply if there is a certified school librarian available at the district or regional level who will work with the school on the selection of materials to be purchased. Regional level may include service centers or equivalent, university faculty, or staff of neighboring school districts. It is expected that a certified school librarian at the campus, district, or regional level be involved in the selection or materials to be purchased.

  6. The school principal must agree to submission of the Inspire Collection Development Grant. 

  7. The school and/or the certified school librarian do not have to be a member of ALA, AASL, or any other ALA division to apply; however, the jury may take membership into consideration when determining grant awards.

  8. Schools that have 85% or more of its student population qualified for Free Reduced Lunch (FRL) program should include this information in their application to receive additional consideration by the Jury.

  9. The Jury may take the school’s geographic location into consideration when determining grant awards.

  10. Funds can be used to purchase:
    -  Books, whether they are hardbound print or a Braille volume
    -  Audiobook on audiotape or CD-ROM, or an e-book to be added to either the circulating or reference section of the school library collection 
    -  Magazine/serial copies or subscriptions
    -  DVD or videotape movie versions of books or plays
    -  Accessibility extensions (hotspots, increased bandwidth, etc.)
    -  Funds can be used to purchase materials that are pre-processed when they come from the vendor 

  11. The following cannot not be funded by the grant: separate processing, for any processing service, or for salaries or stipends for individuals processing books in the school system, furniture, shelving, classroom sets of books, collections of books stored in closets, or collections of books on rolling carts of any kind, student/teacher guides to the book (in print or other media), a test/quiz/workbook, exercise book or commentary on the book, any software related to the book, or electronic book reader.

  12. Institutions represented by Inspire Collection Development Grant Jury can be eligible to apply, but committee members must recuse themselves from the discussion and voting or decline if they have a conflict of interest.

  13. The school library must be a first-time recipient of the Inspire Collection Development Grant.  All previous recipients are ineligible to apply.

  14. The school principal must agree to submission of the Inspire Collection Development Grant. The grant does not require that the district, the county, the state, or any other agency approve the application. AASL encourages the school to check with the district office regarding any pertinent grant application policies or regulations it may have.

  15. Within one year of receiving a grant, recipients are required to submit a report describing how this grant impacted the school library program. The report should include receipts on how the funds were allocated. If photographs or images are part of the project, the report must include digital copies of all release-signed photographs. (These reports could be posted, with permission of the recipient, on the AASL website, and on any other ALA website/webpage or ALA publication as requested by ALA.)

  16. Grant recipients must spend grant funds within the school year following the year in which the grant was given.


The Inspire Collection Development Fund Jury will evaluate the applicant based on the following criteria:

  1. The quality of the benefits this grant will bring to the community.
  2. A project plan that includes a timeline, budget, and clarity of purpose.

  3. Rankings based on a rubric that correlates with the ratings sheet.

Download Criteria & Rating Sheets pdf icon

Download Copy of Application 

* Please note: This downloadable version is for informational purposes only. All applications must be submitted online, via the Apply Now button that will appear at the top of the page when the award is open.


Allison Cline email icon
Deputy Executive Director


Year Recipient School
2022 Suzanne Banwart Annapolis High School
Dearborn Heights, Michigan
"It is such an honor to accept this award on behalf of Annapolis High School. Thank you so much to Ms Marney Welmers and the American Association of School Librarians awards committee for this generous grant which endorses our students’ love for manga and graphic novels and will promote their growth as readers. My students and I are so excited to see the new titles arrive and begin reading them!"
2022 Molly Dettmann Norman North High School
Norman, Oklahoma
"I am so excited for this opportunity to continue to grow the Norman North Library's collection with physical and digital books that represent all readers in my school's community thanks to the AASL. We take great pride in reaching all our readers with just the right book, and these funds will help us continue that practice with new diverse and engaging reads, as well as help replacing old favorites that were lost during 2020."
2022 Jane Oliver Grizzlies Prep Charter School
Memphis, Tennessee
"Grizzlies Prep is incredibly thankful for Marina “Marnie” Welmers and the American Association of School Librarians for their contribution to our library. Being recognized for this grant is an honor because it will help advance our library into an inclusive space. The impact of nearly 400 new diverse books will allow students to see themselves and others in new ways. The young men of my school will be thrilled each time new books are unveiled."
2022 Lauren Romag Athol High School
Athol, Massachusetts
2022 Jillian Rudes Metropolitan Expeditionary Learning School
Forest Hills, New York
“Many of our students spent the last two years of the pandemic without access to the communities and the safe spaces that usually help to support their social-emotional development. But, during this time many of our students did have access to manga and I truly believe that manga was there in our absence to support their social-emotional development. Therefore, this combined Social-Emotional Learning and Manga Inspire Collection will continue to help to support our students.”
2021* Cindy Buerkle Otselic Valley Central School
South Otselic, New York
2021* Taylor Inverarity Turner Middle School
Kansas City, Kansas
2021* Amanda Jones Live Oak Middle School
Denham, Louisiana
2021* Chari Kauffman North Shore Middle School
Houston, Texas
2021* DeAnna Arnold Wheeler Attendance Center
Booneville, MS
2021* Rebecca Caufman Radford High School
Radford, VA
2021* Ginger Cowart Natchez High School
Natchez, MS
2021* Marissa Deku Lewiston High School
Lewiston, ME
2021* Alice Lang South Carolina School for the Deaf and Blind
Spartanburg, SC
2021* Marie Southwell Graphic Arts Campus Library
New York, NY
2021* Emily Wilson West Port High School
Ocala, FL

2020 Denise Gadson Woodland High School
Dorchester, SC
2020 Pamela Hubert Brooks County High School
Quitman, GA
2020 Samantha Kennedy Dunedin High School
Dunedin, FL
2020 Ali Lauer Griffith STEAM Magnet Middle School
Los Angeles, CA
2020 Brittany Tignor Snow Hill High School
Snow Hill, MD
2019 Sean Casey Northeast Middle School
Minneapolis, Minnesota
2019 Melissa Iamonico Sprain Brook Academy
Valhalla, New York
2019 Lauren Mabry Andrew Lewis Middle School
Salem, Virginia
2019 Holly Schwarzmann Largo Middle School
Largo, Florida
2019 Ness Shortley Horton Middle School
Pittsboro, North Carolina
2019 Mae-Lynn Smith Great Oaks Charter School Wilmington
Wilmington, Delaware
2018 Carolyn Bushey I.C. Norcom High School
Portsmouth, Virginia
2018 LeAnn Dowty Kingsbury Middle School
Memphis, Tennessee
2018 Cynthia Johnson Longleaf Middle School
Columbia, South Carolina
2018 Shannon Knowlton Poplar Middle School
Poplar, Montana
2018 Samantha Marker Samuel M. Ridgway Middle School
Edgewater Park, New Jersey
2018 Stacy Udo Olympia High School
Olympia, Washington
2017 Jeanna Wersebe El Camino High School
Oceanside, California
2017 Haley Walters George Washington High School
Danville, Virginia
2017 Michelle Kruse Roosevelt Middle School
Cedar Rapids, Iowa
2017 Laura Long Highland School of Technology
Gastonia, North Carolina
2017 Maria Ornes Kagman High School
Saipan, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands
2017 Christina Gavin Jane Addams Campus Library
New York, New York
2016 Kelly Beckham Kannapolis Middle School
Kannapolis, North Carolina
2016 Cheryl Goff Carrie D. Kendrick Middle School
Jonesboro, Georgia
2016 Shanna Miles South Atlanta High School
Atlanta, Georgia
2016 Leigh Morlock Jefferson High School Middle College for Advanced Studies
Portland, Oregon
2016 Chalice Tillis Abbeville High School
Abbeville, Alabama


*Inspire COVID Recovery Grants were offered in two rounds during the 2021 award year from the Inspire Collection Development Grant program.