Mike Havener receives AASL Ruth Toor Grant for Strong Public School Libraries

For Immediate Release
Tue, 03/27/2018


Jennifer Habley

Manager, Web Communications

American Association of School Librarians (AASL)



CHICAGO – Mike Havener, school librarian for Springfield (Illinois) High School, is the recipient of the 2018 American Association of School Librarians' (AASL) Ruth Toor Grant for Strong Public School Libraries. Sponsored by Jay Toor, the grant provides $3,000 in 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.

Havener will use the Toor funds to build a recording studio in an underused office space centrally located in his school library. Along with technological equipment, Havener plans to use a portion of the budget on painting the space and adding sound-dampening panels to the walls. His goal is to create a fresh, modern, and attractive space for students to work together in, while increasing foot traffic and advertising modern, non-traditional library services. Students and faculty will be invited to use the studio to record broadcasts that will bring greater public and administrative attention to the school library.

“One of the best ways to gain the attention and engagement of parents, administration, and community members is to showcase the work and creations of students,” wrote Havener in his application. “This project will give the library program the same kind attention that departments such as art and music receive through exhibits and concerts. All projects will be hosted on the school library website, uploaded to iTunes, and advertised throughout the building bringing crucial public and administrative awareness to the power, importance, and necessity of a strong school library program.”

“The recording studio planned by Mr. Havener will showcase student learning and creativity in ways unique to the school library,” said Lynn Gordon, award committee chair. “These broadcasts are the kind of creative collaboration that bring the library to the forefront of the school and serve as an advertisement for the school library! We give Mr. Havener, his partners Ms. Kaisner and Mr. Lightfoot, and the staff and students of Springfield High School our sincere congratulations and best wishes as they move forward with this project.”

Along with the $3,000 in funding for project creation and implementation, the grant includes $2,000 for both the school librarian and a school official to attend the ALA Annual Conference.

The AASL award winners will be honored at the AASL Awards Ceremony & President’s Program during the 2018 ALA Annual Conference in New Orleans. The ceremony will be held from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. on Saturday, June 23. All are welcome to celebrate the accomplishments of their peers during this recognition event.

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