AASL introduces the Ruth Toor Grant for Strong Public School Libraries

For Immediate Release
Tue, 02/24/2015


Jennifer Habley

Manager, Web Communications

American Association of School Librarians (AASL)



CHICAGO — In recognition of her service to and influence on the profession, the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) is proud to announce its newest award, The Ruth Toor Grant for Strong Public School Libraries. The annual award, made possible by the generous support of Jay Toor, will support public school libraries in creating initiatives that promote and position their school library as necessary resources in their communities. More information is available on the AASL website at www.ala.org/aasl/awards.

“It’s a fact,” said Jay Toor. “Schools with a strong school library program and a certified school librarian ensure their students have the best chance to succeed. Ruth and I want to ensure excellence for every student by advocating for a school library with a certified school librarian in every school. These grants will allow school librarians to talk to their community’s parent leaders, teachers, principals, school board or superintendent about the importance of strong school library programs with certified school librarians.”

The Ruth Toor Grant for Strong Public School Libraries will provide financial support to a public school library that is interested in increasing local awareness regarding the importance of school libraries and certified school librarians. One recipient will be awarded the Ruth Toor grant each year.  The recipient will be awarded $5,000 to support an initiative on the strategic importance of school librarians and how their role can support their vision or goal for the school system and advance it. The $5,000 includes:

  • $3,000 to create and implement a project that promotes school library awareness and its accomplishments to school officials and administrators; and
  • $2,000 for both the school librarian and school official (or volunteer parent) to attend the AASL national conference or the ALA Annual Conference during the years when there is no AASL national conference.

Ruth Toor was the school librarian at Southern Boulevard School in Chatham for 29 years. After retiring in 2001, she wrote and edited the “School Librarian’s Workshop,” and along with “New on the Job,” Toor co-authored 11 other professional publications. Toor was the 1992-1993 AASL President and consulted and worked actively on many ALA, AASL and ALSC committees, including the ALA Committee on Legislation. She taught graduate courses as an adjunct at Rutgers and Montclair State Universities and was the internship adviser for professional development studies at Rutgers’ school of communication and information.

“Ruth Toor epitomizes the role of mentor in our field,” said AASL President Terri Grief. “There may not be another person in our profession that has done more to help new librarians. Not only did she start the ‘School Librarian's Workshop’ with Hilda Weisburg, she also co-wrote ‘New on the Job: A School Library Media Specialist’s Guide to Success.’ We are so grateful to her and her family for establishing a grant that will continue her work as an advocate for school libraries!”

Applications for the 2015 award are due April 1, 2015. The inaugural recipient will be honored at the AASL Awards Ceremony during the 2015 ALA Annual Conference in San Francisco. The application and additional award criteria can be found at www.ala.org/aasl/awards.

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