AASL Opens Applications for 2021 Awards and More | News Bites: Opportunities

AASL, IMLS, and We Need Diverse Books have funding and mentorships available.

The AASL is accepting applications for numerous awards and grants; IMLS has opened nominations for the National Medal for Museum and Library Science; and We Need Diverse Books is ready to begin its sixth year of mentorships.

AASL Opens Awards Nominations

The American Association of School Librarians (AASL) is now accepting applications for its 2021 awards. AASL members can nominate a colleague or themselves for the following awards and grants.

  • National School Library of the Year Award. $10,000 and a crystal obelisk to a school library that “meets the needs of the changing school and library environment and is fully integrated into the school's curriculum.”
  • ABC-CLIO Leadership Grant. $1,750 to a school library association in an AASL chapter for “planning and implementing a leadership program at the state, regional, or local level.”
  • AASL Chapter of the Year Award. $1,000 stipend to the AASL chapter “most active and dynamic in achieving the goals of AASL at the state and local level.”
  • Collaborative School Library Award. $2,500 to a collaboration and partnership between school librarians and educators who meet AASL's “National School Library Standards for Learners, School Librarians, and School Libraries” goals through “joint planning of a program, unit or event in support of the curriculum and using school library resources.”
  • Distinguished School Administrator Award. $2,000 to a school administrator who “has made worthy contributions to the operations of an exemplary school library and to advancing the role of the school library in the educational program.”
  • Frances Henne Award. $1,250 to attend an ALA Annual Conference or AASL National Conference for the first time to a school librarian with five or fewer years in the field.
  • Innovative Reading Grant. $2,500 to fund literacy projects for grades K-9 that promote the importance of reading and facilitate literacy development by supporting current reading research, practice, and policy.
  • Intellectual Freedom Award. $2,000 to the recipient and $1,000 to the winner’s choice of school libraries in recognition of “upholding the principles of intellectual freedom as set forth by AASL and ALA.”
  • Inspire COVID Recovery Grant. $5,000 to public middle or high schools to recover parts of a collection lost because of pandemic school library closures and extend their collection with online and remote resources.
  • Inspire Special Event Grant. Up to $2,000 to public middle or high schools to create new or improve existing extracurricular activities to better student academic achievement.
  • AASL Research Grant. Three $350 grants in recognition of “excellence in manuscripts addressing a persistent and recurring challenge in the field of school librarianship.”
  • Roald Dahl’s Miss Honey Social Justice Award. $8,000 in funds and books to AASL members who have “collaboratively designed a lesson, event, or course of study on social justice exemplified by a character from Roald Dahl’s books.”

Applications for the Inspire COVID Recovery Grant are due September 30. The deadline for the National School Library of the Year Award is Jan. 1, 2021. All other applications or nominations are due Feb. 1, 2020.

All applications close at 5:30 p.m. EST on the day of the deadline. Anyone with questions about the application process should email Allison Cline.

Nominations Open for IMLS National Medal for Museum and Library Science

The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) is now accepting nominations for the 2021 National Medal for Museum and Library Service, which is awarded to libraries and museums for service to their communities. Most museums and libraries can apply, but applicants should check eligibility.

The National Medals program recognizes outstanding libraries and museums of all types and sizes that impact their communities by:

  • fostering a lifelong passion for learning for all people, nourishing curiosity and imagination from early childhood through adulthood, for people of all abilities and needs;
  • providing access to information through advancing digital capacity, focusing on digital inclusion and access to digital and informational resources, including e-books and materials to help address workforce development and public health;
  • transforming the lives of community members by being trusted community spaces for convening, connection, and conversation; enlightenment and shared thoughts and opinions; and preserving natural and cultural heritage and community memory;
  • continuing to engage their communities during the unprecedented coronavirus pandemic and enhanced focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion, through providing information, programming, and services virtually, or taking innovative and imaginative steps toward continuing services and reopening their physical spaces.

Anyone can nominate an institution—an employee, board member, volunteer, member of the public, or government official. The nominated institution must complete the online nomination form by 11:59 pm EST, Monday, November 2.

For more information and a list of frequently asked questions, visit the Medals nomination page.

Writers and Artists Can Apply Soon for WNDB Mentorship Program 

From October 1-31, Black children's writers and illustrators  can submit applications for the We Need Diverse Books (WNDB) Mentorship program.  There are  up to 15 year-long mentorships (up from 10 the previous year) covering four different categories:  picture book text, illustration, middle grade, and young adult. 

The 2021 mentors include Nicola Yoon, Cynthia Leitich Smith, Dhonielle Clayton, David LaRochelle, Rajani LaRocca, Meg Medina, Alan Gratz, Baptiste Paul, Erin Entrada Kelly, Gary Schmidt, Mike Curato, Andrea J. Loney, Anna-Marie McLemore, Higgins Bond, and Elizabeth Zunon.

Applications from children’s writers and illustrators seeking craft-based mentorships "will be reviewed for mentorship need and readiness, and manuscripts will be evaluated on elements such as craft, story, and diversity." Recipients will be announced in January 2021.

The program has awarded mentorships to 48 diverse authors and illustrators since 2015. WNDB mentorships offer a free tutorial on how to create and compile application materials, which includes tips for submitting work to agents and editors. 

For additional information and applications, visit the WNDB website.

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