Grant Funds Help Pine Grove Middle School’s Bookapalooza Kick Things up a Notch

Pine Grove Middle School Library is honored to the be recipient of the AASL Inspire Special Event Grant sponsored by Marina “Marney” Welmers.  

We are thrilled to have this funding to support our literacy outreach throughout the school year. What a treat it will be to have the financial sponsorship to take our 9th annual Bookapalooza and “kick things up a notch” for the 2018 campaign!

Since 2008 Pine Grove Library has hosted an annual literacy outreach campaign called “Bookapalooza.” The purpose of the Bookapalooza is to promote literacy, inspire school spirit, and build relationships by unifying the school community through the one book. The book picked during Bookapalooza is one that appeals to a wide audience, is accessible to a range of reading styles, reflects diversity, and has an enduring theme. We want to send a message that a community can rally around a book just like it can rally around a sporting event, a concert, or a 10K run!  

Bookapalooza allows us to offer a range of powerful discussions, life lessons, and FUN! We empower student leaders to play significant roles, involve our community partners in spreading the power of reading, and celebrate the impact of amazing books and authors.

This festival starts with a kick-off event at our local bookstore where we showcase musical talent of our student chorus, band, and theater department. Families, friends, students, staff, and even our library mascot, Repete the Parrot, join this evening event.

This year, thanks to the grant, we plan to expand our marketing, outreach, and celebration of this amazing tradition. In collaboration with our technology and art departments, we will add framed prints of our Bookapalooza reads for the last 8 years for display in the library. We will expand marketing in more creative and visible ways in our community through high impact (and reusable) signage, development of a Bookapalooza brand, and sponsorship of collaborative literacy events.  

We know we can always promote powerful conversations about books whether funds are involved or not. Having the support of this grant, however, will allow us to expand what we have done through virtual and live outreach, archiving our literacy outreach campaigns, and expanding the collection to speed up the waiting list for our books related to this campaign.   

Partnerships with authors, other schools, and guest speakers are more doable with the financial backing to do so. This, too, will add a dimension to our Bookapalooza campaign for 2018!  

The Pine Grove Library believes in the power of partnerships.  As we continue to expand our outreach and impact, we are grateful to be the recipients of the AASL Inspire Special Event Grant funds.   

Just wait, you will be in AWE with all that we do as we unite our school community around the power of a shared literary experience! We will share what we’ve done and other schools can replicate the concept in their communities.   

Stay tuned for Bookapalooza 2018–it’s going to be EPIC!


Author: Sue Kowalski

Sue Kowalski is a middle school librarian at East Syracuse Minoa Central School District in East Syracuse, NY. She is a past winner of the National School Library Program of the Year (AASL), I Love My Librarian Award (Carnegie/ALA), iSchool Alumni Impact Award (Syracuse University), Super Librarian Award (Central New York School Librarians), and Teacher Librarian Journal Leadership Award, and has been named a Library Journal “Mover and Shaker.” Sue is passionate about the role of strategic leadership and the impact that has on strong school library programs. She is actively involved in the New York Library Association and its Section of School Librarians, Onondaga Cortland Madison Board of Cooperative Educational Services, Northern Onondaga Public Library Board of Trustees, New York State Board of Regents Advisory Council on Libraries, and AASL in varying capacities. Amplifying student voice is always her focus, and she works to do that through the iStaff library service program for school students, and multiple channels in and through the library. She shares the power of how school libraries connect to the school community and beyond, and continues to grow those collaborative partnerships. Sue believes librarians must #LEADOUTLOUD (bullhorn optional). Conversations happening on Twitter @spkowalski.

Categories: Awards Spotlight, Community

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