Thursday, March 17, 2016

Tips for Funding an Author School Visit

Recently our local bookstore Parnassus Books hosted an educator night to share all the ways they can help teachers and librarians. Well, at that event our friends at the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators shared this information with us on how to get funding for an author visit at your school...

Teachers, Librarians, Booksellers, Authors and Illustrators all have the same objective; get books in the hands of students!

We also face the same realities of slashed budgets and dwindling funds. Even tried and true sources such as PTO funds have been strapped.

Teachers understand all too well the process of planning, preparing, organizing, and gathering materials for an hour’s lesson. Visiting authors and illustrators also spend many hours preparing, communicating with the school and traveling; all to make sure that the students have the best experience possible. Here are some ideas for gathering funds to pay for an author or an illustrator to visit YOUR school.

Some general sources for outside funding:

   National service organizations like Lions Clubs, Rotary Club, Kiwanis, etc.
   Large business corporations like McDonalds, Burger King, Kroger, Publix, Home Depot, Lowes, and many more.
   Local independent businesses. (Check with your Chamber of Commerce.)
   National philanthropic groups: Bill Gates Literacy programs, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library.
   The PTA may also have a list of sources that have helped in the past.
   Friends of the Library might be willing to sponsor a visit to the public library

Links for Grants and Fundraising sources

Funding an Author Visit
Partially adapted from McBookWords

Schools never have enough funds for all the things they want to do.  But for those that wish to utilize the expertise of authors/illustrators to boost the literacy factor in their classroom/library can, with creative effort, find the resources.

    SCBWI’s Amber Brown Fund Grant 
   State /Regional  arts councils --
   State and local humanities councils-- Fifty six councils -
   International Reading Association Grants and Awards -
   Maureen Hayes Award (ALA-Association for Library Service to Children)
   John Cotton Dana Library Award - information at
   School Fundraising: School Donation: Grants for Teachers ... Adopt a Classroom.
   Target - Education Support, Programs, Activities -
   Poets and Writers - Funding for Literary Readings  & Writers Workshops | Poets & Writers
   TN Arts Commission
·   The NEA foundation
·   U.S. Dept. of Education
·   Grant Wrangler –

Grants for Librarians-Scholastic - extensive list with links

How to write a grant proposal

Fundraising ideas
   Donors Choose - Teachers ask and donors choose
   Research Grant Programs & Fundraising | Foundation Center -
   Fund & Sustain Your Work | SparkAction -

Fundraising without grants

Monday, March 14, 2016

Shout-Out to Amanda Smithfield Library Journal Mover & Shaker Class of 2016

Although I didn’t nominate Amanda Smithfield, I could not be more excited that she was named a Library Journal Mover & Shaker for the class of 2016.  This recognition identifies up and coming leaders in the library field, from academic, public and school libraries. 

For anyone that knows Amanda, she is completely deserving of this honor and we couldn’t be more proud and honored to have her as an MNPS Librarian. Library Journal has recognized Amanda as an advocate for her students and teachers and if you have been to the Hume-Fogg Library, you would know this to be true.

As the intro to her nomination stated, “There is no doubt that Amanda Smithfield loves going to work every day, actually she has told me- the kids make every day awesome.  When you enter her library prior to school, it looks like mass chaos with hundreds of students, yes….hundreds...working, printing, reading and making all before 8:00 am. Amid the chaos, you will find Ms. Smithfield, running around, providing resources and just supporting students in a very challenging academic environment”

Other highlights from her nomination and why she rocks:
·       Supporting students during finals
o   TherapyDogs 
o   Games
o   Coloring
·       Panel discussions
·       Use of social media- if you don’t follow her on Twitter, start today!
·       Utilizing technology and flipped classroom

The list could go on and on why Amanda is so deserving of this honor. Congratulations Amanda!

Stephanie Ham
Director, Library Services
Metro Nashville Public Schools