Free webinar explores the makings of an award-winning school library program

For Immediate Release
Tue, 09/16/2014


Sarah Ostman

Communications Manager

ALA Public Programs Office


CHICAGO — Creating a library program can be daunting regardless of an audience’s age. Developing a program for K-8 students— one that aligns with curriculum, stays on budget and keeps kids engaged — comes with a unique set of challenges.

A free webinar, “The R.O.A.D. I Travel: A Program Model for School Libraries,” will explore how an Indianapolis middle school library partnered with other organizations to develop an innovative genealogy unit for eighth-graders. The program was recently recognized with ALA’s 2014 Sara Jaffarian School Library Program Award for Exemplary Humanities Programming.

The webinar will be held at 2 p.m. CDT Wednesday, Oct. 8. Register online at

The webinar is suited for school librarians of all grade levels, as well as children’s librarians and others interested in library programming. It will be especially beneficial for school librarians who are considering applying for the 2015 Sara Jaffarian Award. Applications for the $5,000 award are now being accepted.

Presenting the webinar will be Leslie Preddy, school librarian at Perry Meridian Middle School, and Suzanne Walker, children’s services consultant at the Indiana State Library. They will discuss how they created and implemented “R.O.A.D. (Research, Observe, Analyze, Discover) I Travel” in partnership with the Indiana Historical Society in 2013.

Over one semester, librarians assisted nearly 500 eighth-graders in researching their family histories online and in historical newspapers on microfilm, while historians and preservationists taught the students preservation and interview techniques. The unit culminated in a project fair, where students displayed videos, scrapbooks, student-made family cookbooks and demonstrations of unique family hobbies.

Named after the late Sara Jaffarian, a school librarian and longtime ALA member, ALA’s Jaffarian Award was established in 2006 to recognize and promote excellence in humanities programming in elementary and middle school libraries. The award and webinar are presented by the ALA Public Programs Office in cooperation with the American Association of School Librarians (AASL). To learn more or apply for the 2015 Jaffarian Award, visit

Funding for the Jaffarian Award is provided by ALA’s Cultural Communities Fund (CCF). In 2003, a challenge grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities kick-started a campaign to secure the future of libraries as cultural destinations within the community. Since then, CCF has grown to more than $1.7 million, serving libraries as they serve their communities through the highest quality arts and humanities programs. To contribute to CCF, visit

About the ALA Public Programs Office

ALA’s Public Programs Office provides leadership, resources, training and networking opportunities that help thousands of librarians nationwide develop and host cultural programs for adult, young adult and family audiences. The mission of the ALA Public Programs Office is to promote cultural programming as an essential part of library service in all types of libraries. Projects include book and film discussion series, literary and cultural programs featuring authors and artists, professional development opportunities and traveling exhibitions. School, public, academic and special libraries nationwide benefit from the office’s programming initiatives.

About the American Association of School Librarians

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

About the American Library Association

The American Library Association is the oldest and largest library association in the world, with approximately 57,000 members in academic, public, school, government and special libraries. The mission of the American Library Association is to provide leadership for the development, promotion and improvement of library and information services and the profession of librarianship in order to enhance learning and ensure access to information for all.