Hurricane Relief for Libraries; Be a Rebel and Tweet; Grants for Autism Inclusion | News Bites

Ways to help hard-hit libraries recover after Hurricane Harvey and to win literary swag and stand up for reading—and more.

ALA and Follett Rally Around Libraries Hit by Hurricanes

Harvey and Irma not only upended families in Texas, Florida, and the Caribbean, but these storms decimated many school and public libraries. To help these hard-hit libraries get going again, several organizations and companies are launching donation programs.
  • The American Library Association is partnering with Florida International University Library to concentrate its fund-raising efforts on the many libraries in Caribbean that will need to be rebuilt.
  • Two of ALA’s state chapters, Texas and Florida, are teaming up with their respective state library commissions to help restore and repair libraries across those states. Donations to either the Florida’s relief fund or the Texas’s relief effort are tax-deductible, as are the donations to ALA’s Caribbean fund.
  • Follett, the educational resources company, has also started a donation program for school libraries hit by Harvey, aiming to raise $15,000 by October 2. When you donate, 100 percent of the funds will be used to purchase materials to replace the ones lost—and Follett will add another 10 percent to all donations received.

Inspirational Stories Highlight the Positive Effects of Literacy Programs

Here’s a good reason to start the day with a bowl of cereal: Kellogg’s and Dollar General have partnered together to celebrate National Literacy Month by launching Here’s My Story. People, young and old, who have been helped by literacy programs to meet their educational goals, have contributed inspirational tales to the campaign. Starting in October, you can read these stories when you buy such Kellogg’s classic cereals as Fruit Loops, Frosted Flakes, and Rice Krispies (among other Kellogg’s products) at Dollar General stores nationwide.

Grant Application Now Open for Libraries That Promote Autism Inclusion

For the past two years, Autism Welcome Here has been giving money to libraries that want to start or enhance programs that serve individuals with autism and their families. The organization will award the $5,000 grant on March 1, 2018, and is accepting applications until December 1. To qualify, libraries must meet certain criteria, which include a well-thought-out service or program that could be replicated by other libraries and could not exist unless it was funded by an outside entity.

Be a Rebel and Tweet During Banned Books Week

Here’s a chance to win a bag of literary swag and stand up for reading. Enter the ALA’s Rebel Reader Twitter Tournament, which runs from September 24 through the 30th and coincides with Banned Book Week. To be eligible for a host of prizes, including such frequently banned books as Drama and This One Summer, totes, mugs, and posters, start tweeting using the hashtag #RebelReader. Then post a selfie with a banned book, a quote from a banned book, a completed ALA coloring sheet, or any other number of activities to spread the message about the power of words. Students who are 13 and older can join the fun.

Build Up Your Library’s Art Book Collection for Free

If your public school defines itself as underserved, you could be eligible to receive free books on contemporary art and culture through Art Resources Transfer, a nonprofit dedicated to a more egalitarian access to the arts and literature. To start an account or view A.R.T.’s catalog of 450 books, go to A.R.T.’s Distribution to Underserved Communities Library Program.

Library of Congress Shines a Light on Literacy Promoters

At the beginning of September, the Library of Congress announced the winners of its 2017 Literacy Awards. This year’s top winners were the Children’s Literacy Initiative in Philadelphia, a citywide school program that provides support to pre-K through third grade teachers, and the National Center for Families Learning in Louisville, KY, which has been helping generations of lower-income families across the nation get out of poverty through education. This year’s international prize went to Pratham Books in Bangalore, India, for its work in creating an open-source digital repository of multilingual stories that children and families can download for free.

Teaching for Change Puts Pressure on Scholastic for Hurricane Harvey Coverage

After Scholastic News, the online news site for teachers and students, published a story that failed to link Hurricane Harvey with either climate change or Houston’s rampant overdevelopment, Teaching for Change demanded to know why. So it launched the #StepUpScholasticCampaign to tell the publisher that kids need to know the truth about the weather. The campaign seems to have worked. About a week and many emails and tweets later, Scholastic urged the social-justice organization to call off the campaign, citing the many books and articles devoted to climate change it has published over the years. In its coverage on Hurricane Irma, Scholastic News did discuss the link between warming oceans and more powerful storms. Teaching for Change acknowledges Scholastic’s efforts, but it cited its campaign as proof that advocacy works.

Bates College Gets $250,000 To Boost Diversity in Children’s Literature

Bates College, in Lewiston, ME, is now the recipient of nearly $250,000 from the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services. The liberal arts college will use part of the money to expand its Diverse Book Finder, a repository for children’s books that is accessible to teachers, librarians, children, and parents. The college will also use the grant to fund training opportunities for Maine librarians to help their schools and libraries become more intercultural.
Linda Rodgers covers health and education for a variety of magazines and websites.

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