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Woodside High School receives AASL Inspire Special Event Grant

CHICAGO – Stephanie Persson, school librarian at Woodside School in Newport News, Virginia, is one of five school librarians from across the country receiving a 2022 American Association of School Librarians’ (AASL) Inspire Special Event Grant. Made possible by the generosity of AASL member Marina “Marney” Welmers, the grant program provides funds for public middle or high school libraries to plan a special event to enhance student learning.

“Healing Through Literature, Arts, and Goats,” is a response to the struggles of a learning community after recent district violence which has added to an already vulnerable student population. The event will provide students with an opportunity to see that they are not alone in their experiences and show them how art can be an alternative refuge.

“What a creative set of programs and opportunities to help a community cope with loss,” said Committee Chair Zandra Lopez. “The committee was impressed with the collaboration between school librarian, center for arts and communications program, and school counselor, as well as the interdisciplinary approach to social-emotional learning and animal therapy. The students at Woodside are fortunate to have such a responsive and create school librarian leader.”

“A school library connects classroom learning to the real world, but this is a shining example of connecting the real-world to the school library and addressing a concern most of us face as learners struggle through so much in today’s world,” said AASL President Jennisen Lucas. “As the third learning space, between the classroom and home, what a wonderful event for a safe learning experience to connect learners in a community of support.”

The AASL award winners will be recognized during the 2023 AASL National Conference taking place October 19-21 in Tampa, Florida.

The American Association of School Librarians,, a division of the American Library Association (ALA), empowers leaders to transform teaching and learning.

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