For immediate release | February 1, 2022

School librarians invited to apply for $5,000 Sara Jaffarian School Library Program Award

CHICAGO — School librarians are invited to apply for a $5,000 award recognizing outstanding humanities programming in kindergarten through eighth grade, the American Library Association (ALA) Public Programs Office announced.

Nominations for the 2022 Sara Jaffarian School Library Program Award will be accepted until May 5, 2022. In light of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on programming, submissions of virtual programs are highly encouraged.

Applications, award guidelines and a list of previous winners are available at

School libraries, public or private, that serve K-8 students are eligible. Nominated programs must have taken place during the current school year (2021-22). Programs that are still in progress as of the award deadline are eligible, and librarians are encouraged to self-nominate.

Eligible humanities programs may be focused in many subject areas, including social studies, poetry, drama, art, music, language arts, foreign language and culture. Programs should focus on broadening perspectives and helping students understand the world and their place in it. They should be initiated and coordinated by the school librarian and exemplify the role of the library program in advancing the overall educational goals of the school.

Recent Jaffarian Award-winners have included:

  • Teaching the Tulsa Race Massacre with Guided Inquiry Design, a program that taught students about how assumptions create conflict in society using the Tulsa Race Massacre as an example. Students then completed research projects on assumptions causing conflict in the world today or in their own experience. Students chose a topic to research further.
  • Junior Ambassadors, a program that brings a global perspective to students through a book club focused on the UN's Sustainable Development Goals.
  • Poverty and Philanthropy, a program where students researched famous philanthropists including how much money they donate, which nonprofit they support, and why.
  • Tales of the Crypt: Danville’s Living History, a program that used a historic local cemetery as the basis for a multidisciplinary student project.

Named after the late Sara Jaffarian, a school librarian and longtime ALA member, ALA’s Jaffarian Award was established in 2006 to recognize and promote excellence in humanities programming in elementary and middle-school libraries. It is presented annually by the ALA Public Programs Office in cooperation with the American Association of School Librarians (AASL).

The award is selected 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).

Funding for the Jaffarian Award is provided by ALA’s Cultural Communities Fund (CCF). In 2003, a challenge grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities kick-started a campaign to secure the future of libraries as cultural destinations within the community. Since then, CCF has grown to more than $2 million, serving libraries as they serve their communities through the highest quality arts and humanities programs. To contribute to CCF, visit

About the ALA Public Programs Office

The American Library Association (ALA) Public Programs Office empowers libraries to create vibrant hubs of learning, conversation and connection in communities of all types. For more information, visit

About the American Association of School Librarians

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

About the American Library Association

The American Library Association (ALA) is the foremost national organization providing resources to inspire library and information professionals to transform their communities through essential programs and services. For more than 140 years, the ALA has been the trusted voice for academic, public, school, government and special libraries, advocating for the profession and the library’s role in enhancing learning and ensuring access to information for all. For more information, visit


Hannah Arata

Communications Specialist

American Library Association

Public Programs Office