Stephanie Hewett Rous receives AASL Ruth Toor Grant for Strong Public School Libraries

For Immediate Release
Tue, 04/19/2016


Jennifer Habley

Manager, Web Communications

American Association of School Librarians (AASL)


CHICAGO – Stephanie Hewett Rous, school librarian at Corinth Holders High School in Wendell, N.C., is the recipient of the 2016 American Association of School Librarians' (AASL) Ruth Toor Grant for Strong Public School Libraries. Sponsored by Jay Toor, the grant provides funding for the creation and implementation of a local public awareness/marketing campaign that promotes and positions the school library as a necessary resource in the community. The grant includes $3,000 for project creation and implementation and $2,000 for both the school librarian and a school official to attend the AASL National Conference or the ALA Annual Conference.

Hewett Rous first plans to decorate the library to make the space more inviting to students, a task that is sometimes challenging due to the county’s fire code. Once the library is equipped with a colorful, inviting and thought-provoking entrance, Hewett Rous plans to use reading promotions to encourage use of the collection by students. Students will be challenged to read a million words and to tweet reactions to the plot for each chapter. To help those who find the challenge daunting, two weekly marathons will be held. Both the challenge and marathons will be promoted by the school’s weekly TV show, Pirate TV.

To engage school staff, Hewett Rous plans to promote the library through quarterly programs and entice strong staff participation by offering food. Her programs include two “Biscuits with Books,” “the Library Scoop” and “Pastries and Planning.” Through these programs, Hewett Rous will showcase through print and digital means how she can collaborate with teachers on lessons and the available resources the library contains. To engage parents, Hewett Rous will host a community night for upperclassmen and their parents that will feature a guest speaker, a professor emeritus from a state university. The speaker would discuss personal finances, budgets and choosing colleges based on career goals to help prepare the students for life after high school.

Karen Meier, award committee chair, shares why Hewett Rous’s application was selected: “What stood out the most on Stephanie’s application was her plans to market her library program not only within her school to students and staff, but outside to the broader community. We encouraged her to set up a marketing team to help with all the promotion that she plans to do next year.”

The AASL award winners will be honored at the AASL Awards Ceremony during the 2016 ALA Annual Conference in Orlando. The ceremony will be held from 9 – 11 a.m. on Saturday, June 25. All are welcome to celebrate the accomplishments of their peers during this recognition event taking place prior to the AASL President’s Program.

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