For immediate release | April 10, 2012

Inter-American Magnet School Library wins Sara Jaffarian Award

CHICAGO – The Inter-American Magnet School in Chicago is the recipient of the 2012 Sara Jaffarian School Library Program Award for Exemplary Humanities Programming, the American Library Association (ALA) Public Programs Office announced. The award will be presented in June at the ALA Annual Conference in Anaheim. The Inter-American Magnet School Library will receive a plaque recognizing the achievement, a cash award of $4,000 and promotion of the winning program as a model for other school libraries through

Francis Feeley, school librarian at Inter-American Magnet School, developed and submitted the winning program, titled “Who Are We?” The program challenged 7th and 8th grade students to explore the individual and collective behavior of human beings in the past and present in a series of quarterly research projects. Using print and online resources and multiple social networking tools, students worked in small groups to research and create humanities-based presentations on topics such as the demographics of the U.S. population, protest movements throughout U.S. history, global human rights and the lives and works of several historical leaders and change makers. More information on the “Who Are We?” program can be found at:

“The ‘Who Are We?’ program is an excellent example of cross-curricular cooperation,” said Kathleen Ellis, chairperson of the Jaffarian Award selection committee and library director of the Berkeley Carroll School in Brooklyn, N.Y. “Collaboration among the librarian, art, social studies and technology teachers ensured broad application of project elements. The wide community impact, the definite humanities focus and the ease with which this program can be replicated makes it an outstanding and worthy winner of this award.”

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 Service to Children (ALSC). More information on the Sara Jaffarian Award can be found at:

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, 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, visit