For immediate release | January 22, 2018

St. Lucie County (Florida) Library System awarded 2018 Baker & Taylor Summer Reading Grant

CHICAGO — The Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) has awarded the 2018 ALSC/Baker & Taylor Summer Reading Program Grant to the St. Lucie County Library System in Florida.

This grant is designed to encourage outstanding summer reading programs by providing financial assistance while recognizing ALSC members for outstanding program development. The program must be open to all children from birth to age 14. Programming that provides for the inclusion of children with physical and mental disabilities is encouraged. This $3,000 grant is made possible by Baker & Taylor, a leading distributor of books, videos, and music products to libraries, institutions and retailers.

In St. Lucie County, the fastest growing county in Florida and recently one of the fastest growing counties in the US, economic development has not kept pace with the population growth. Easily a quarter of the population is under 18 years old, and 90% of the county’s school school-aged children qualify for free or reduced lunch. The St. Lucie County Library System offers robust programming for youth during the school year, but their limited funds have restricted the scope of their summer programs. They will use grant funds to include children, birth to five, in their Summer Reading Challenge and to pilot a Sensory Storytime for children with special needs.

This summer, the library will add two new categories to their existing summer program, which currently serves children ages 5-17: “Baby and Me,” for children birth to two years old; and “Read to Me,” for those three to five years old. Incorporating the Collaborative Summer Library Program theme “Libraries Rock!”, the library will encourage children and families to participate in a number of age-appropriate early literacy activities. The Sensory Storytime, which will pilot at the system’s newly opened Paula A. Lewis Branch Library, will feature a variety of sensory manipulatives, including previously owned items and new items purchased through the grant. Children will have opportunities to develop social and physical skills using items such as the balance beam, a sensory table, rain tubes, and Hoberman spheres.

“The committee was very impressed by the library’s thoughtful response to the community’s demonstrated need,” said Hanna Lee, 2018 Grant Administration chair. “These initiatives will allow the library to truly serve all children from birth to 17 in a way that funding hasn’t allowed, up to now.”

ALSC, a division of the ALA, is the world’s largest organization dedicated to the support and enhancement of library service to children. With a network of more than 4,000 children’s and youth librarians, literature experts, publishers and educational faculty, ALSC is committed to creating a better future for children through libraries. To learn more about ALSC, visit ALSC’s website at


Courtney Jones

Awards Coordinator

American Library Association