Chicago Heights Public Library awarded 2022 ALSC/Baker & Taylor Summer Reading Grant

For Immediate Release
Wed, 03/09/2022


Elizabeth Serrano

Membership and Marketing Specialist


The Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) has awarded the 2022 ALSC/Baker & Taylor Summer Reading Program Grant to the Chicago Heights Public Library in Chicago Heights, Illinois.

This grant is designed to encourage outstanding summer reading programs by providing financial assistance, while recognizing ALSC members for outstanding program development. The program must be open to all children from birth to age 14. The grant encourages summer programming that provides for inclusion of children with physical and mental disabilities. This $3,000 grant is made possible by Baker & Taylor, a leading distributor of books, videos, and music products to libraries, institutions and retailers.

The Chicago Heights Public Library serves a population of more than 27,000, the majority of whom identify as Black or Latinx. According to the Illinois Schools’ Report Card, 99% of students in Chicago Heights’ District 170 are considered low income and 32% are English Language Learners.

Funding from the Baker & Taylor Summer Reading Grant will give the library the ability to offer daily programming mirroring a traditional summer camp. The program will provide families with free opportunities to encourage the learning process to continue throughout the summer months. Whether kids and parents attend “camp” for a day, a week, or longer, kids will be given first-rate opportunities to learn and expand their horizons. Children will experience the natural environment while having fun.

“The committee was impressed by the breadth and depth of the summer camp style program," said Erin Lovelace and Stephie Luyt, 2021-22 Programs and Services Recognition committee co-chairs. “Families and children will have numerous opportunities for learning and enrichment throughout the eight week program. Funding from this grant will allow the library to have more programming for underserved children and will foster continued family engagement with the library and literacy programs.”

“We’re pleased to sponsor Chicago Heights Public Library’s summer reading initiative through our grant program, in partnership with ALSC. We were excited to see how they’ll put emphasis on mindfulness and outdoor play in their summer plans, and how they’ll bridge those pillars of social emotional learning with recreational reading in one innovative and cohesive experience for all kids in their community,” said Bobbie Bensur, Children and Teen Services Director at Baker & Taylor. “This type of innovation has been more and more pronounced during the pandemic, and we applaud all youth services librarians for their grit, agility, and creativity in servicing their communities during this challenging time.”

This grant is sponsored by Baker & Taylor, a premier provider of books, digital content and technology solutions that help public libraries improve community outcomes through literacy and learning. Learn more about their Children’s and Teen Services summer reading program here.

ALSC, a division of the ALA, is the world’s largest organization dedicated to the support and enhancement of library service to children. With a network of more than 4,000 children’s and youth librarians, literature experts, publishers and educational faculty, ALSC is committed to creating a better future for children through libraries. To learn more about ALSC, visit ALSC’s website at