For immediate release | April 25, 2022

AASL Awards Five Inspire Collection Development Grants

CHICAGO – Five school libraries from across the country have been awarded American Association of School Librarians' (AASL) Inspire Collection Development Grants. Made possible by the generosity of AASL member Marina “Marney” Welmers, the grant program provides funds for public middle or high school libraries to update their existing collections 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.

The 2022 recipients include:

  • Annapolis High School, Suzanne Banwart, library media specialist, Dearborn Heights, Michigan
  • Athol High School, Lauren Romag, librarian, Athol, Massachusetts
  • Grizzlies Prep Charter School, Jane Oliver, school library media specialist, Memphis, Tennessee
  • Metropolitan Expeditionary Learning School, Jillian Rudes, school librarian, Forest Hills, New York
  • Norman North High School, Molly Dettmann, teacher librarian, Norman, Oklahoma

“The committee was inspired by the thoughtful connection of student needs to collection development by the applicants,” said Nicolle Mazzola, committee chair. “From starting a ‘We Read Diverse Books’ project at Grizzlies, to increasing Manga to engage more students at Annapolis, and adding to their “Reaching All Readers” program at Norman, school librarians are meeting both learners’ interests and needs. The committee is also thrilled to expand much-needed resources in schools like Athol, with a budget that only allows for nine titles to be purchased per year, and the decision ‘unfortunately and unnecessarily leaves us to decide whether to replace heavily circulated items or purchase new intersectional titles,’ and Metropolitan where the 'SEL and Manga Collection' will engage students and support their social-emotional development.”

“Marney’s love of reading started early and ferociously as a child who rode her bike to the library to read anything and everything,” said AASL President Jennisen Lucas. “Recognizing that the joy of reading is critical to learner development and providing grants that will both draw students into the library and expand their learning experience and reading development is such a critical need now more than ever. AASL cannot express enough gratitude to Marney for the grants or the opportunity to be part of this wonderful program.”

The AASL award winners will be recognized during the 2023 AASL National Conference taking place October 19-21 in Tampa, Florida.

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


Allison Cline

Deputy Executive Director

American Association of School Librarians (AASL)