Advocacy Opportunities Increase with Grant Funds! Ruth Toor Grant for Strong Public School Libraries

School librarians excel at stretching their budgets to meet the needs of their students and staff. Even so, from my own experience, I have found there are never enough funds left for promoting and marketing the library as well as I would like. As recipient of the Ruth Toor Grant for Strong Public School Libraries, the 2017-18 school year will be different! Grant funds will fill the need for increased library marketing and promotions. As the only certified librarian at Park Hill High School, a suburban high school of almost 2,000 students, there is an audience of stakeholders including students, faculty, administrators, parents, and community members to hear the good news about libraries and the valuable contributions a quality library and certified librarian can make to the school community. I look forward to being a voice for school library professionals, advocating for school libraries, and honoring the legacy of Ruth Toor.

Grant recipient Dana Kepler, and principal, Dr. Brad Kincheloe.

Celebrate Strong School Libraries!

Jay Toor honored his wife, Ruth Toor, with the establishment of The Ruth Toor Grant for Strong Public School Libraries. Ruth Toor was a school librarian, educator, author, and advocate. Toor was the 1992-1993 AASL President and worked actively on many ALA, AASL, and ALSC committees. The grant provides funding support on a competitive basis to public school libraries—located in the United States and led by a certified school librarian—for the creation and implementation of a local public awareness/marketing campaign that promotes and positions their school library as a necessary resource in the community, tying in the theme “Strong School Libraries.”

I am grateful for this grant and the opportunities it brings to me as a school library professional and hope to make a positive and purposeful impact in my school community and beyond.

Strong School Libraries Support STEAM!

Students in marketing classes helped design some of the promotional materials that will be used this year. Taking the promotion to students for input assures a more successful campaign in celebrating the school library. One celebration focusing on the theme of “Strong School Libraries Support Steam” will take place on August 21, as the library hosts a “Total Eclipse” party. The path of the eclipse passes through Kansas City at 1:09 p.m., which will be perfect timing during the school day for a watch party. Safety glasses have been ordered! Marketing students will help promote the event on social media, as will the school and district, bringing a burst of publicity to library programming. Using NASA’s companion site for the event promotes science across all disciplines in preparation for the “Total Eclipse” party. Event ideas currently in the works include STEAM book displays, solar-themed artwork gallery by art students, cool “Total Eclipse” bookmark giveaways, and a lesson that includes analysis of Pat Benatar’s “Total Eclipse of the Heart” lyrics. Connecting science with the humanities in cross-curricular lessons and activities are sure to be engaging events for high school students. The Ruth Toor Grant will provide funds for the eclipse glasses, color printing of NASA materials, and other promotions available through NASA for student give aways. Check out NASA’s special eclipse website that provides lots of useful resources: This will be a high-profile community event for the library!

Strong School Libraries Go Global!

More than ever before, a globally focused curriculum is essential in preparing students to become informed, responsible citizens capable of making positive contributions to the world. I’ve found that many of our Midwestern students are not exposed to life beyond their own community, and it’s true… books, technology, and a certified librarian can take them places when it’s not possible to travel! The “Go Global” theme will kick off during International Education Week, November 13-17, 2017, and continue throughout the school year promoting the global studies collection through engaging  collaborative lessons to globalize curriculum, cool custom bookmarks and giveaways, promotions with International Club students, and an International Festival held in the spring hosted by our ELL students and teachers.

November, 2017, AASL Conference, “Beyond the Horizon”

I look forward to attending and presenting at the conference thanks to the Ruth Toor Grant for Strong Public School Libraries. Hope to see you there!

Author: Dana Kepler

Categories: Awards Spotlight, Community

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