AASL receives grant for Dollar General school library relief program

Contact: Melissa B. Jones
AASL Communications Specialist
(312) 280-4381

For Immediate Release
June 16, 2008

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Dollar General school library relief program

Grant helps libraries serve students following a disaster

<?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />CHICAGO – The American Association of School Librarians (AASL), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), announced that the Dollar General Literacy Foundation has awarded an additional $520,000 to continue Beyond Words: The Dollar General School Library Relief Program.

Beyond Words provides funding to public schools affected by disasters to rebuild and expand library media programs. The grants can be used to defray the cost of replacing or supplementing books, media and/or equipment in the school library media center. Funds will be available June 2008 to May 2010.

Beyond Words is fully funded by the Dollar General Literacy Foundation. AASL administers the program in collaboration with the National Education Association (NEA).

"Dollar General's support provides the opportunity for students to be successful," said AASL President Sara Kelly Johns. "Students once again have access to the resources that will advance their education. AASL applauds Dollar General's continued support of student achievement."

Since its inception in 2006, Beyond Words has awarded 85 grants worth more than $750,000 to school libraries. Many of the initial grant recipients were victims of hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma. Other recipients were victims of fire, water damage and other natural disasters.

“Beyond Words helps minimize the disruption of a child’s sense of normalcy after a disaster,” said Rick Dreiling, Dollar General’s CEO. “We recognize that continuing the school library’s role in a child’s education is very important in the recovery process.”

To be eligible for a Beyond Words grant, applicants must be located within 20 miles of a Dollar General store, distribution center or corporate office and must represent public schools serving students in pre-kindergarten through grade 12. Grant applicants must also meet one of two eligibility requirements: the library must have lost its building or incurred substantial damage or hardship due to a natural disaster, fire or an act recognized by the federal government as terrorism.

Alternatively, the school must have absorbed a significant number of displaced/evacuated students. Complete eligibility requirements are in the Beyond Words section of the AASL Web site at http://www.ala.org/ala/aasl/aaslawards/dollargeneral/disasterrelief.cfm.

About Dollar General

Dollar General is a leading discount retailer with more than 8,000 neighborhood stores. Dollar General stores provide convenience and value to customers by offering consumable basic items such as food, snacks, health and beauty aids and cleaning supplies, as well as basic apparel, house wares and seasonal items at everyday low prices. The company has a longstanding tradition of supporting literacy and education. Since its inception in 1993, the Dollar General Literacy Foundation has awarded more than $24.5 million in grants to nonprofit organizations, helping more than 1 million individuals take their first steps toward literacy, a general education diploma or English proficiency. To learn more about Dollar General, visit www.dollargeneral.com.

About NEA

The National Education Association is the nation’s largest professional employee organization, representing 3.2 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators and students preparing to become teachers.

About AASL

The American Association of School Librarians, www.aasl.org, a division of the American Library Association (ALA), promotes the improvement and extension of library media services in elementary and secondary schools as a means of strengthening the total education program. Its mission is to advocate excellence, facilitate change and develop leaders in the school library media field.