The Ruth Toor Grant for Strong Public School Libraries (Historical)

Sponsored by Jay Toor 

Monetary Amount: $3,000 to create and implement a project that promotes school library awareness, $2,000 for both the school librarian and school official (or volunteer parent) to attend the AASL national conference or the ALA Annual Conference during the years when there is no AASL national conference.

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


Jay Toor honors his wife, Ruth Toor, with the establishment of The Ruth Toor Grant for Strong Public School Libraries. Ruth Toor was the school librarian at Southern Boulevard School in Chatham for 29 years. After retiring in 2001, she wrote and edited the “School Librarian’s Workshop,” and along with “New on the Job,” Toor co-authored 11 other professional publications. Toor was the 1992-1993 AASL President and consulted and worked actively on many ALA, AASL and ALSC committees including the ALA Committee on Legislation. She taught graduate courses as an adjunct at Rutgers and Montclair State Universities, and was the internship adviser for professional development studies at Rutgers’ school of communication and information.

The grant provides funding support on a competitive basis to public school libraries—located in the United States and led by a certified school librarian—for the creation and implementation of a local public awareness/marketing campaign that promotes and positions their school library as a necessary resource in the community, tying in the theme “Strong School Libraries.”


  1. All applicants (individual or institution) must be current members of ALA and AASL at the time the application is submitted.
  2. The public school library must be located in the United States, with one staff position being held by a certified school librarian.

  3. Grant is for one (1) year and is not intended for the project to extend for multiple years.

  4. Grant applications are kept in a pool for two years from date of receipt. Prior applications may be updated each year, as long as they are received by the application deadline.

  5. Institutions represented by The Ruth Toor Grant for Strong Public School Libraries jury can be eligible to apply, but committee members must recuse themselves from the discussion, voting or decline the nomination if they have a conflict of interest.  


  1. The criteria includes a two-page narrative which outlines the goals of the project, how the public school library will use the funds to further public awareness, and how the grant money will be spent. The following documentation is required with the two-page narrative:
    • A project plan that includes a timeline,

    • The number of school library-users the grant will reach,

    • A list of key staff involved in the grant plus a short biography of each

    • An itemized budget. 

  2. The project must be completed within eleven months of receipt of the grant money.
  3. The grantee must agree to deliver a final report of activities and a copy of all marketing/promotional materials within forty business days following the completion of the project. If photographs or images are part of the project, the report must include digital copies of all release-signed photographs. (These reports are to be posted, with permission of the grantee to the AASL website, and to any other ALA website/webpage or ALA publication as requested by ALA.) The grant recipient may be invited to write an article for Knowledge Quest that delineates their public awareness/marketing campaign and demonstrate their successes, trials, and recommendations for improving so others can replicate the project.

Download Criteria & Rating Sheets

Download Copy of Application

* Please note: This grant is no longer active and information contained on this page is for historical purposes only.


Allison Cline
Deputy Executive Director


Year Recipient School
2020 Kristen Anderson Kingsley Elementary School
Evanston, Illinois
"Sixteen years as a School Librarian in Chicago and Evanston have taught me that it takes a community to make libraries great. I’m excited to collaborate further with Kingsley teachers and District 65’s Library Department on promoting our libraries as a vital resource to the families of our youngest learners. The unique support of the Ruth Toor Grant will further our community’s important work around equity, literacy, and family engagement. Thank you!"
2019 Jennifer Sturge Calvert County Public Schools 
Prince Frederick, Maryland
2018 Mike Havener Springfield High School
Springfield, Ilinois
2017 Dana Kepler Park Hill High School
Kansas City, Missouri
2016 Stephanie Hewett Rous
Corinth Holders High School
Wendell, North Carolina
2015 Arlen Kimmelman
Clearview Regional High School
Mullica Hill, New Jersey