February 22, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Beyond Words Grant Winners Announced

Beyond WordsTwo libraries devastated by fire can now begin the process of rebuilding their schools and communities thanks to the commitment of Dollar General and the AASL Beyond Words Catastrophic Grant awards. Paul Robeson Malcolm X Academy in Detroit, Michigan, and Rowe Elementary School in Rowe, Massachusetts, are recipients of the 2014 catastrophic disaster relief grants.

On May 10, 2011, a bolt of lightning hit Paul Robeson Malcolm X Academy, and the resulting blaze destroyed the entire building and school library collection. Teachers and students were forced to relocate.The school library program centered on African and African American materials, now all lost. “With the intensified objectives of Detroit Public Schools to improve and increase reading literacy, the grant allows the purchase of books and related materials and equipment that will better prepare Paul Robeson Malcolm X Academy to meet the challenges of the school district and most of all the need of our students,” stated Principal Jeffrey Robinson.

“During a violent summer storm on the afternoon of August 4, 2012, lightning struck the Rowe Elementary School. The building was quickly engulfed in flames, and despite the assistance of over 125 firefighters from local communities, the entire school and 100 percent of the contents were lost in the fire. Fortunately, no one was in the building,” recalls Principal William Knittle. “After our building was destroyed, our students were left without the support that our library offered. This grant allows the students the opportunity to experience a beautiful, new, state-of-the-art library, ready to support learning of all kinds and at all levels.”

In 2012, Dollar General renewed its commitment to school libraries by increasing grant amounts and introducing two $50,000 catastrophic disaster relief grants. To qualify for a catastrophic award, eligible schools suffered a 90 percent or greater loss to the school library program due to a natural disaster, fire, or an act recognized by the federal government as terrorism. Applications are accepted on an ongoing basis and can be accessed online.

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Dodie Ownes About Dodie Ownes

Dodie Ownes left the glamorous world of retrospective conversion and disco to jump on the library vendor train. Since then, she has been learning at the feet of the masters about all things library. Dodie lives in Golden, Colorado, where even the sign which arches the main street says "Howdy."

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