2008 ALSC/BWI Summer Reading Grant Winner named

Contact: Jenny Najduch

ALSC Marketing Specialist

(312) 280-4026


For Immediate Release,

February 19, 2008

2008 ALSC/BWI Summer Reading Grant Winner named

CHICAGO - The Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), has awarded the Wayne County Public Library of Goldsboro, N.C., the 2008 ALSC/BWI Summer Reading Program Grant. The $3,000 grant, donated by Book Wholesalers, Inc. (BWI), provides financial assistance to a public library for developing outstanding summer reading programs for children.

Wayne County Public Library's 2008 summer reading program theme, “Catch the Reading Bug,” incorporates a community garden, located on the library grounds, as a meeting place where diversity is celebrated. Librarian Shorlette Ammons-Stephens is working with community organizations, such as the Wayne County Cooperative Extension and the Goldsboro Parks and Recreation Department, to foster a respect and understanding for individuals with special needs, families whose first language is not English and “at-risk” youth.

The program kicks-off with an intergenerational and multicultural Community Planting Day celebration. Following the kick-off, participants can attend weekly hour-long programs for a period of six weeks. Programs plan to include writing journs, as well as a variety of other artistic experiences, by incorporating the garden as a source of inspiration and creativity. Youth involved in the program will receive their own gardening journal and a special home gardening starter kit, including a recipe book and a book on good bugs and wonderful worms.

“The dimensions of this project include literacy opportunities through the development of a collection of gardening, health and nutrition literacy resources, workshops, journaling, cultural awareness and hands-on gardening experiences,” said Ammons-Stephens. “This will allow participants to increase their level of physical activity and empower participants to take an active role in their own health and wellness.”

The garden began in response to a need for a special place that would allow residents to learn more about themselves and the community. In keeping with the library's mission to offer community members the opportunity to meet and interact with others in the community, construction of the 50-by-50-foot garden began in January 2006.

“Wayne County Public Library's innovative proposal encourages children and adults of all ages to participate actively in the library's summer reading program,” said Mary Voors, chair of the ALSC/BWI Summer Reading Program Grant Selection Committee. “There were many excellent grant applications, but Wayne County Public Library's commitment to celebrating diversity and encouraging intergenerational gardening to promote literacy activities makes this program truly outstanding.”

ALSC is the world's largest organization dedicated to the support and enhancement of library service to children. With a network of more than 4,200 children's and youth librarians, literature experts, publishers and educational faculty, ALSC is committed to creating a better future for all children by creating better opportunities. To learn more about ALSC, visit their Web site at www.ala.org/alsc.