For immediate release | June 22, 2010

Jefferson Elementary School Library wins Jaffarian Award for Exemplary Humanities Program

CHICAGO - The American Library Association (ALA) Public Programs Office (PPO) announced that the Jefferson Elementary School Library in Elmhurst, Ill., is the winner of the 2010 Sara Jaffarian School Library Program Award for Exemplary Humanities Programming. The award will be presented at 8 a.m. on Sunday, June 27, during the ALA Annual Conference in Washington, D.C., immediately prior to the Auditorium Speaker Series presentation of Marlo Thomas. The Jefferson Elementary School Library will receive a plaque recognizing the achievement and a cash award of $4,000. Additionally, the winning program will be featured on as a model for humanities programs in school libraries.

Nicolette Vaillancourt, Learning Resource Center director at Jefferson Elementary School, developed and submitted the winning program, which focused on local history while incorporating several disciplines: art, technology, oral and written communication and research skills. The Elmhurst History project, the product of collaboration between the school librarians and second grade teachers, encouraged students to explore this history of their local community, then work with their classmates to create a variety of presentations including written reports, a mural and a podcast.
The Sara Jaffarian Award was established in 2006 to recognize and promote excellence in humanities programming in elementary and middle school (K-8) libraries. It is presented annually by the Public Programs Office, in cooperation with the American Association of School Librarians (AASL), and named for Sara Jaffarian, whose donation to ALA’s Cultural Communities Fund established the award. Jaffarian, a retired school librarian and long-time ALA member, spent her career passionately advocating for school libraries in every school. The Sara Jaffarian 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)
The ALA Public Programs Office promotes cultural and community programming as an essential part of library service in all types and sizes of libraries. Successful library programming initiatives have included the “Let’s Talk About It” reading and discussion series, traveling exhibitions, film discussion programs, the Great Stories CLUB, Live! @ your library and more. Recently, the ALA Public Programs Office developed, an online resource center bringing librarians timely and valuable information to support them in the creation of high-quality cultural programs for their communities. For more information on the ALA Public Programs Office and the Cultural Communities Fund, visit


Angela Thullen