For immediate release | August 23, 2011

Nominations now accepted for Sara Jaffarian School Library Program Award

Apply by Dec. 15 to receive $4,000, national recognition for program model

CHICAGO - The American Library Association (ALA) Public Programs Office is now accepting nominations for the 2012 Sara Jaffarian School Library Program Award for Exemplary Humanities Programming. School libraries, public or private, that served children in any combination of grades K-8 and conducted humanities programs during the 2010-2011 school year are eligible. Applications and award guidelines are available at To be considered, nominations must be received by the ALA Public Programs Office by Dec. 15.

The award consists of a $4,000 honorarium and a plaque, to be presented at the 2012 ALA Annual Conference in Anaheim, Calif. Additionally, the winning program will be promoted as a model program for other school libraries on, a library programming resource center. To be considered, applicant libraries must have conducted a humanities program or program series during the prior school year (2010-2011). The humanities program can be focused in many subject areas, including but not limited to social studies, poetry, drama, art, music, language arts, foreign language and culture. Programs should focus on broadening perspectives and helping students understand the wider 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.

More information about the award will be presented in a free, online learning session hosted by the ALA Public Programs Office on Tuesday, Sept. 13 at 4 p.m. CDT. Ronda Hassig, school librarian of Harmony Middle School, in Overland Park, Kan., and winner of the 2011 Sara Jaffarian Award, will present her winning model for humanities programming in the school library. The program, titled “Harmony With a Voice,” built on humanities themes through poetry, collaboration and civic engagement. Following the presentation, Hassig will discuss elements of her award application that lead to her selection, and give tips to prospective applicants to help get their applications started. Registration for this event is required, and can be found at:

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 ALA 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) and AASL. For more information on the Sara Jaffarian award, visit

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, the Great Stories CLUB, LIVE! @ your library and more. Recently, the ALA Public Programs Office developed to support libraries in the creation of high-quality cultural programs for their communities. For more information on the ALA Public Programs Office and the Cultural Communities Fund, visit


Angela Thullen