Michigan Creates New $ 800,000 Grants Program for School Library / Public Library Ecosystem Builders – Press and Guide
Michigan students and their families are expected to benefit from a new $ 800,000 grant program focused on building ecosystems between certified school librarians and their public library colleagues. A new pilot grant program provides grants to fund collections-oriented projects between public libraries and school districts with certified school librarians on staff. Grants to a school district cannot exceed $ 10,000 per library, and a school district must employ a certified school librarian (also called a media specialist in Michigan) to be eligible for a grant. The four eligible counties are Berrien, Genesee, Kent and Mackinac.
“This innovative grant program shows that the role of a certified school librarian is central to the educational and community development mission of all libraries,” said John Chrastka, executive director of EveryLibrary, a policy action committee. dedicated to building voter support for libraries. “When lawmakers looked for ways to more closely connect public libraries with neighboring school districts, they knew that a certified school librarian had to be present for the program to be successful. This grant program is a recognition of the need for strong collaboration between each type of library.
“This pilot program is a step forward in supporting smart and effective student-focused library collaborations during and outside of school time,” said Kathy Lester, advocacy chair for the Michigan Association for Media in Education (MAME) . “We are very pleased that this grant program has received the support of the legislature, and we look forward to seeing the support for school libraries continue in the future. MAME continues to call on the state legislature to invest in the future of education by returning school librarians in every school and district across the state. Currently, less than 10% of all schools have a full-time certified school librarian, and literacy rates in Michigan are suffering. MAME is sponsoring three bills to address this critical academic gap this session.