Matia Edwards receives AASL Inspire Special Event Grant

For Immediate Release
Wed, 05/12/2021


Jennifer Habley

Manager, Web Communications

American Association of School Librarians (AASL)


CHICAGO – Matia Edwards, media specialist at Griffin High School in Griffin, Georgia, is one of five school librarians from across the country receiving a 2021 American Association of School Librarians' (AASL) Inspire Special Event Grant. Made possible by the generosity of AASL member Marina “Marney” Welmers, the grant program provides funds for public middle or high school libraries to plan a special event to enhance student learning.

Griffin High School (GHS) is part of the Griffin-Spalding County School System in western Georgia. Its mission is to establish a safe and rigorous learning environment where students have opportunities to experience success in order to compete in a global society. The GHS Media Center helps the high school achieve this mission for its 1,500 students by containing more in its collections than other school libraries in the district and regularly working with teachers and learners to provide instructional support and tools.

Edwards plans to use the grant funds to implement multiple projects. Each project is designed to enhance educational activities for her learners by promoting student reading and engagement, encouraging healthy competition and positive social skills, and/or supporting creative literacy expression. Projects include reading “Hidden Figures” by Margot Lee Shetterly and watching the movie adaptation at a drive-in, an author visit with Freedom Rider Charles Person, a reading tournament, and a project to write and create a comic.

“It has been a difficult year for libraries and the committee took note of that when looking at grant submissions,” said Zandra Lopez, grant committee chair. “A special event might mean something different to individual libraries. School librarians wanted to make connections with students and provide them with opportunities within the library environment. Whether that included virtual author visits, improving collections, or creating makerspaces, each submission focused on student engagement. In a year with many restrictions, the ability to provide a special event for students truly captures the spirit of this award.”

The AASL award winners will be recognized during the 2021 AASL National Conference taking place October 21-23 in Salt Lake City, Utah. 

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