For immediate release | May 1, 2017

AASL awards eleven Inspire Grants for collections and special events

CHICAGO – Eleven schools from across the country have been awarded American Association of School Librarians' (AASL) Inspire Grants. Made possible by the generosity of AASL member Marina “Marney” Welmers, the Inspire Grant program provides funds for public middle or high school libraries to update their existing collections or plan a special event to enhance student learning.

The Inspire Collection Development Grant provides funds to extend, update, and diversify a school’s book, online, subscription and/or software collections to improve student achievement. Public school libraries may apply for up to $5,000, and up to $20,000 per year will be awarded annually. The 2017 recipients include:

  • Jeanna Wersebe, El Camino High School, Oceanside, Ca.
  • Haley Walters, George Washington High School, Danville, Va.
  • Michelle Kruse, Roosevelt Middle School, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
  • Laura Long, Highland School of Technology, Gastonia, N.C.
  • Maria Ornes, Kagman High School, Saipan, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands
  • Christina Gavin, Jane Addams Campus Library, New York, N.Y.

The Inspire Special Event Grant provides up to $2,000 in funding to a school library looking to engage students with school library resources and promote reading, books, literacy and authors. The funds can be used to create a new or enhance an existing extracurricular activity, which will increase student achievement. A total of $10,000 will be distributed to schools annually. The 2017 recipients include:

  • Jillian Ehlers, Metropolitan Expeditionary Learning School, Forest Hills, N.Y.
  • Susan Kowalski, Pine Grove Middle School, East Syracuse, N.Y.
  • Laura Long, Highland School of Technology, Gastonia, N.C.
  • Paul McIntosh, Wadleigh Campus Library, New York, N.Y.
  • Debbie Mortensen, Classical Magnet School, Hartford, Conn.

The AASL award winners will be honored at the AASL Awards Ceremony & President’s Program during the 2017 ALA Annual Conference in Chicago. The ceremony will be held from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. on Saturday, June 24. All are welcome to celebrate the accomplishments of their peers during this recognition event.

The American Association of School Librarians, a division of the American Library Association (ALA), empowers leaders to transform teaching and learning.


Jennifer Habley

Manager, Web Communications

American Association of School Librarians (AASL)