Libraries, Children & Families: New Research & Policy Recommendations on Role of Libraries in Early Reading

The importance of early childhood education was underscored by President Obama in his most recent State of the Union address: “Study after study shows that the sooner a child begins learning, the better he or she does down the road.” Join us to hear Susan Hildreth, director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services, present on a recent policy report, developed with the Campaign for Grade-level Reading, that highlights the role of libraries in early learning. The report also offers a plan of action for policy makers to build on current research and include libraries in early learning strategies. Attendees will learn about best practices for enhancing reading programs and how to participate in your community’s efforts to address literacy concerns. In addition, Lee Rainie, director of the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, will describe the Project’s newly released report about the special role that libraries play in the life of families with children. Attendees will learn what matters to parents about their library experiences with their children, and how library programs and outreach can address those needs.

Presented by:

  • Susan Hildreth, director, Institute of Museum and Library Services,
  • Lee Rainie, director, Pew Research Center Internet & American Life Project.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013 ♦ 1 pm CST 60 min  Cost $0
Register today!

Write for WJIL!

School librarians rock! WebJunction Illinois’ next blog series, Reading, Writing, ‘Rithmetic & the School Library will focus on all of the amazing things YOU do on a daily basis and we want to hear your stories. Would you be interested in writing a guest blog post for us?

Here are just a few of the topics we’re interested in:

  • Tell us about your challenges and successes as a school librarian.
  • Have you created valuable partnerships with teachers, your public library, or other community organizations? Let us know.
  • If you’re a solo librarian, how do you manage your time to get the most out of each day?
  • What are some resources you use for professional development?
  • Do you have some awesome library instruction activities you would like to share?
  • What’s new in your school library? Technology? Space?

If you would like to contribute to our series, please email Lesley Zavediuk at
We would love to share your story and learn together!

“Find a Book” Returns

Secretary of State and State Librarian Jesse White and Illinois School Superintendent Christopher Koch are urging libraries to promote Find a Book,” a free online book search tool that allows children and their parents to quickly and easily select books that will match a child’s reading level and interests and find their selections at their local library.

Find a Book is designed to make reading and libraries part of our children’s summertime fun. One review of the impact of summer reading loss found that children can lose up to 60 percent of their skills during a summer vacation. Children who read during the summer months, however, can sustain their reading gains and are better prepared when school resumes in the fall.

The Find a Book tool uses a child’s Lexile® measure, a measure of reading ability and text complexity derived from state standardized tests, including the ISAT. Information about Lexile® is also available at

Families are also urged to participate in the Illinois Library Association’s iRead Summer Reading Program. This year’s iRead theme is “Have a Book — Will Travel.” Learn more at

School District Library Grants Awarded

Secretary of State and State Librarian Jesse White has awarded FY2013 School District Library Program Grants totaling almost $1.4 million to 642 Illinois public school districts. Nearly 1.7 million students served by school library media programs will benefit from the grants.

As a former public school teacher and administrator, I know our school libraries are so important in helping students learn and prepare themselves for the future. Several studies in recent years have shown that students perform better in the classroom in school districts that have strong library media programs. Illinois was the first state to implement a school district grant program, and I’m pleased that we can continue to provide school libraries with some of the financial resources they need to produce well-educated students.” –Jesse White

Grants were awarded based on a formula of $.75 per student, with a minimum grant award of $735.50. The School District Library Grant Program provides funds that can be used for things like the acquisition of library materials to support reading for academics and enjoyment, library subscriptions to electronic resources, or improved technology to support student research.

The list of school districts receiving grants is posted on the Illinois State Library website.

School District Library Grant Applications Due

Don’t forget!  Applications for the FY2013 School District Library Grant are due at 11:59 p.m. on Friday, November 16, 2012.

When submitting your application to the Illinois State Library, please include in the subject line on the e-mail, “FY13 SDLP Per Capita Grant” — and your “School District Office Location.”

For questions concerning the grant, please contact Robert Jones at, 217-785-1168 or Becky Hunter at, 217-782-7849.

Read for Information Grant

The Illinois School Library Media Association/Library Book Selection Service Fund has announced a new grant this year. To apply for this grant you must be a school librarian and a current ISLMA member by the date of your application.

This grant is designed to show the importance of “literary nonfiction” in the new Common Core Standards that will be in effect in the next few years. As priorities change, our collections need more informational texts. For the purpose of this grant, non-fiction materials may include print, audio, or electronic formats– subscription materials will not qualify.

Information about the grant, including the criteria, checklist, and rubric is available at the ISLMA/LBSS Endowment Fund website. All grant applications must be submitted by December 15, 2012. Questions may be sent to, by fax to 309-649-0916 or by phone to 309-649-0911.

Funds for the endowment fund were received by the Illinois School Library Media Association when the nonprofit Library Book Selection Service was dissolved in June of 2005. A stipulation of the agreement between LBSS and ISLMA was that the assets be invested in order to fund grants to encourage students’ reading of quality literature in Illinois.

Complimentary Webinar from AASL Today

How to be a Ninja Warrior Filter Fighter
Sponsored by: American Association of School Librarians

In honor of Banned Websites Awareness Day, this webinar will focus on how overly restrictive filtering of legitimate, educational websites and academically useful social networking tools affects student learning. Presenter Gwyneth Jones will also share what school librarians can do to fight this type of restrictive filtering in their schools. This webinar is open to AASL members and non-members.

Gwyneth A. Jones, aka The Daring Librarian, is a middle school teacher librarian, a blogger, a Tweeter, a public speaker, a citizen of Social Media, and a resident of Second Life. Gwyneth is a Google Certified Teacher, DEN Star, member of the ISTE Board of Directors, was named an Innovator and one of Library Journal’s Movers & Shakers 2011, a Gale/Cengage New Leader, and is the author of the award winning Daring Librarian blog. Admittedly, she’s also a goofball, a geek, and very, very humble.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012 ♦ 6 pm CST ♦ Cost: $0

School District Library Grant Application Now Available

The Illinois State Library is now accepting applications for the FY2013 School District Library Grant. This year’s deadline to submit the grant application and signature page is November 16, 2012.

Please note, once you have accessed the blank application online, save the file to your computer before completing it. When submitting your application, please include “FY13 SDLP Per Capita Grant – (School District Office Location)” in the subject line on the email.

For questions concerning the grant, contact Robert Jones at, 217-785-1168, or Becky Hunter at, 217-782-7849.

2013 Letters About Literature Contest

Secretary of State and State Librarian Jesse White is urging students in grades 4–10 to enter the 2013 Letters About Literature (LAL) contest, a national reading and writing competition.

“Every year thousands of students in Illinois enjoy participating in this inspiring competition,” White said. “Illinois has had more entries than any other state for five years in a row. I encourage all of our students to take part in Letters About Literature, and I hope their participation leads to a lifetime love of reading.”

Participating students read a book and write letters to the authors, living or deceased, describing how that book positively impacted their life. The contest is sponsored by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, in cooperation with the Illinois Center for the Book. State winners’ letters are forwarded for judging at the national level.

The deadline to enter the competition is January 11, 2013. State winners will be announced in April 2013.

2012 Letters About Literature Winners: (from L to R):
Nadeen Shaban, Ben Gachpar, and Kate Wardenburg

For more information about the competition, contact Bonnie Matheis at 217-558-2065 or More information can also be found at