Madison Public Library Receives 2021 ALSC/Candlewick Press "Light the Way" Grant

For Immediate Release
Fri, 02/19/2021


Jordan Dubin

Awards Coordinator


The Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), has announced that Madison (OH) Public Library is the recipient of the 2021 ALSC/Candlewick Press "Light the Way: Outreach to the Underserved" Grant. As the recipient of the grant, the library will receive $3,000 to engage tweens by making weekly visits to mobile home parks, using snacks and video games to develop a deeper connection to reading.

The Light the Way Grant, which honors Newbery medalist and Geisel winner Kate DiCamillo, is now in its thirteenth year. Although originally conceived as a one-time award, it has continued to be awarded through the generosity of Candlewick Press.

With this grant, the Madison Public Library will use video game equipment and snacks to engage tweens during weekly visits to local mobile home parks. The bookmobile drivers who currently visit the communities have noticed that the tweens, many of whom are home alone after school, often stop by the bookmobile for social interaction but are reluctant to check out materials. By providing snacks and playing video games on an inflatable screen, youth services staff and the bookmobile drivers will get tweens involved and encourage the borrowing of video game tie-in materials, like Minecraft and Fortnite books, which can also serve as lead-ins to more rich literature.

ALSC Programs and Services Recognition Committee Co-Chairs Erin Lovelace and Jackie Partch stated that, “We believe the connections Madison Public Library plans to build with this program will provide a safe space for children in addition to fostering a lifelong love of libraries. Their application made it clear they know the community and will be breaking down barriers by serving young patrons where they are.”

"We are so thankful and excited to receive this award," said Melanie Lyttle, Madison Public Library public services department head. "For many of our young people, our bookmobile is their only connection to the library. We are so excited to break the ice and show them the library is a fun place with new and interesting items to check out and helpful people who care."

"Candlewick is honored to support the creative vision of the staff at the Madison Public Library through the Light the Way Grant this year. Especially during these uncertain times with narrowed accessibility, we realize the importance of a program like ‘Soda and Pop Culture’ that could bring a sense of belonging and security to the diverse community that they serve. We want to express our gratitude to the staff at the Madison Public Library for their dedication and commitment to literacy and empowering tween readers,” said Sawako Shirota, Manager of Library Marketing at Candlewick Press.

Candlewick Press is an independent publisher based in Somerville, Mass. ( Candlewick publishes outstanding children’s books for readers of all ages, including books by award-winning authors and illustrators such as the National Ambassador for Young People's Literature emerita Kate DiCamillo, M. T. Anderson, Jon Klassen, and Laura Amy Schlitz; the widely acclaimed Judy Moody, Mercy Watson, and ’Ology series; and favorites such as Guess How Much I Love You, Where’s Waldo?, and Maisy. Candlewick is part of the Walker Books Group, together with Walker Books UK in London and Walker Books Australia.

The Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) is driven by more than 4,000 members dedicated to the support and enrichment of library service to children. Our members include youth librarians, literature experts, publishers and educational faculty. ALSC supports its members in engaging communities to build healthy, successful, futures for all children. To learn more about ALSC and how to join, please visit: .