Inspire Special Event Grant (Historical)

Sponsored by Marina "Marney" Welmers

Monetary Amount: up to $2,000

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 Special Event Grant. The grant opportunity supports a special event so that an existing public middle or high school library can create new or enhance its extracurricular activities in order to increase student academic achievement at their school. The goal is to provide direct assistance funding to middle or high school libraries for special short-term projects or events that would create new or enhance educational activities in order to engage students with and in the library and to promote reading, books, literacy and authors. 

The fund is $10,000 per annum. The direct assistance is capped at $2,000 per grant.


  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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

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

  9. Funds can be used to fund author visits, special events, contests, Book Clubs, Summer Reading programs, displays, etc. that engage middle or high school students with and in the library.

  10. Institutions represented by Inspire Special Event 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.

  11. The school library must be a first-time recipient of the Inspire Special Event Grant.  All previous recipients are ineligible to apply.

  12. The recipient must agree to deliver a final report within twelve months of receipt of the grant money. If photographs or images are part of the report, the school must include digital copies (300 dpi images or higher) of all release-signed photographs. These reports can be posted, with permission of the recipient, to the AASL website, and to any other ALA website/webpage or ALA publication as requested by ALA.


The Inspire Special Event 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 a 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 next award season opens in early September.


Allison Cline email icon
Deputy Executive Director


Year Recipient School
2022 Kristi Allred North Davidson Middle School
Lexington, North Carolina
"North Davidson Middle School is thrilled to receive the Inspire Special Event Grant, which will bring playwright/actor Mike Wiley to perform his one-man play "A Game Apart." This play focuses on Jackie Robinson and other US athletes who broke the color barrier. Their stories of courage and perseverance will surely inspire all students. The media center will support the historical context and social-emotional learning with literature and nonfiction. This will be an amazing opportunity!"
2022 Jessica Fitzpatrick Mayde Creek High School
Richmond, Texas
"Thank you so much for this honor! Librarian in the Huddle started as a mission to reach students who usually do not go to the library and it has impacted so many students in a positive way. With these funds, we will be able to continue and grow this program and reach so many more students through literacy, community and athletics."
2022 Dohnia Galloway Mayo High School for Math, Science, and Technology
Darlington, South Carolina
"This collaborative environment will support our curriculum by fostering a love for literacy, writing, teamwork, and community. Leaders will be developed while embracing the STEM areas that provide opportunities for excellence and mastery. Lifelong learning tools will be enhanced as leaders in the community come in and teach our students about their careers and life lessons. The books provided will offer project-based learning experiences that will remain with our students for years to come."
2022 Hannah Luce Madison Area Memorial High School
Madison, Maine
"I am thrilled to accept this AASL Inspire Special Event Grant for Madison High School’s 2022 All-School Summer Read. This support for our new summer reading initiative will help build a culture of year-round reading. All of our students and staff will read a common book, inspiring a community-wide conversation and a valuable shared experience. I am grateful that AASL believes in programs like this that work at the local level supporting student growth."
2022 Stephanie Persson Woodside High School
Newport News, Virginia
"Woodside High School is honored to receive the AASL Inspire Special Even Grant. “Healing Through Literature, Arts, and Goats” will bring together our arts magnet students, the library, and the school counseling department for a collaborative social emotional learning event. Students will discuss a graphic novel and art with school counselors, and pet therapy with baby goats will wrap up the three week event. Thank you for supporting this special project."
2021 Rebecca Caufman Radford High School
Radford, Virginia
2021 Matia Edwards Griffin High School
Griffin, Georgia
2021 Janet Parrish Butler Traditional High School
Louisville, Kentucky
2021 Chris Peeler Heather Ridge School
Frederick, Maryland
2021 Melissa Raymer DC Virgo Preparatory Academy
Wilmington, North Carolina
2020 Cameron Carey Baldwin-Woodville High School
Baldwin, Wisconsin
2020 Amy Gammon Greenport Elementary School
Greenport, New York
2020 Kristina Graves Schenectady High School
Schenectady, New York
2020 Tatanisha Love Loch Raven Technical Academy
Towson, Maryland
2020 Wamecca Rodriguez Yorkville Middle School
Yorkville, Illinois
2020 Shawna Ward Lindbergh High School
St. Louis, Missouri
2019 Wendy Carrington Northeast Bradford Jr./Sr. High School
Rome, Pennsylvania
2019 Melissa Cortese
Buffalo Academy of Science Charter School
Buffalo, New York
2019 Amanda Jones Live Oaks Middle School
Watson, Louisiana
2019 Lori Quintana Griffin Middle School
Smyrna, Georgia
2019 Anne Reis Homewood Center
Ellicott City, Maryland
2018 Kelly DeLeon Sussex Central High School
Georgetown, Delaware
2018 Claudine Dixon Greece Arcadia High School
Rochester, New York
2018 Michelyne Gray Cherry Creek High School
Greenwood Village, Colorado
2018 Justine Kay Benjamin Franklin Intermediate School
Daly City, California
2018 Jeff Treistman Denny International Middle School
Seattle, Washington
2017 Jillian Ehlers Metropolitan Expeditionary Learning School
Forest Hills, New York
2017 Susan Kowalski Pine Grove Middle School
East Syracuse, New York
2017 Laura Long Highland School of Technology
Gastonia, North Carolina
2017 Paul McIntosh Wadleigh Campus Library
New York, New York
2017 Debbie Mortensen Classical Magnet School
Hartford, Conneticutt
2016 Julie Abeska West Bloomfield High School
West Bloomfield Township, Mich.
2016 Catherine Andronik Brien McMahon High School
Norwalk, Conn.
2016 Sara Frey Plymouth Whitemarsh High School
Plymouth Meeting, Pa.
2016 Leigh Graham West Rowan High School
Mount Ulla, N.C.
2016 Beth van Kan Graham Park Middle School
Triangle, Virginia