I Am Building It, and They Are Coming! How I’ve Been Using My AASL Inspire Collection Development Grant

The AASL’s Inspire Collection Development Grant I received for the 2017-2018 school year has allowed me to build upon existing collections and services and introduce new activities and programs for George Washington High School.

Last school year, I continued a collaboration with the local public library to bring programs and services to the entire student body of my school. The Library Lunch Club has been a success, culminating in a year-end field trip to the public library. This joint partnership has helped to serve as a bridge for bringing in teens to both our libraries. We’ve had fun creating stop-motion videos, programming a droid, and using coding to create digital holiday cards.

One new program that I was excited to initiate that did come to fruition was a Story Hour for the severely disabled and special needs classes. The local youth services librarian provided these students with story times, complete with activities and games. Funds from the Inspire Collection Development Grant were used to purchase additional picture and easy-reader books to supplement these students’ reading.

Thanks to the Inspire Collection Development Grant, I was also able to continue my Library Book Club. Funds from the grant were used to purchase book club reads for the past year and this school year. We’ve read and discussed such works as Looking for Alaska and Every Falling Star, and this year’s selections include Long Way Down and A Very, Very Bad Thing. Students have been asking me if there will be Library Book Club this year, and I am excited and relieved that this can continue.

With the grant funds, I have also been able to purchase books for my students to participate in the Virginia Reader’s Choice program. This is a yearly reading initiative in which students read books from a selected list and then vote on them. A statewide winning title is announced in each category. I am thrilled to finally begin this project and am brainstorming ways to implement this reading contest.

I am amazed at the transformation of my library in just a few years’ time. The library has become a real destination, not just an afterthought. Students visit to participate in programs, play games, and check out the great new selection of reading materials. The Inspire Collection Development Grant has served as a kickstart and foundation for these programs and activities, and I would likely not have been able to further my efforts without this funding.

Author: Haley Walters



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