Library receives 1,000 books from national grant

Published 8:57 am Thursday, April 5, 2018

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By JOYANNA LOVE/ Senior Staff Writer

The Chilton/Clanton Public Library has been named one of only three libraries in the country to receive a 2018 Bookapalooza Program award by the Association for Library Services to Children.

As a recipient, the Chilton/Clanton Public Library will receive about 1,000 books. Library director Savannah Kitchens said these will be divided among the library branches in Clanton, Jemison and Thorsby.

“I got really excited and a little emotional because this is a really big deal for us,” Kitchens said of receiving the congratulatory call.

Children’s librarian Renee Edwards said she is also excited to have new titles to read for Storytime.

“It’s better than Christmas,” Edwards said.

Kitchens applied for the grant in December 2017.

“We had to demonstrate our need in the collection for that amount of free, new books,” Kitchens said. “They want to make sure that the libraries that receive it have a real need.”

Kitchens used statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau, highlighting the percent of students in the free and reduced lunch program. Kitchens said there are more than 10,000 people under the age of 18 in Chilton County.

“That’s a lot of kids and to have a successful library you have to have a continuous influx of new materials,” Kitchens said. “It is a real struggle to keep up with what are children deserve based on the resources that we have, so to have this incredible gift that we can give the children of this county was overwhelming.”

The grant application also highlighted Kitchens’ desire to provide more updated titles and diversity for the children’s books to better reflect the demographics of Chilton County.

“When you look at average copyright date of a lot of our children’s materials and where our population was at that time and you look at our population now — over 12 percent of Chilton County identifies as minority … which is a significant amount and I feel right now our collection does not reflect that demographic,” Kitchens said. “The library collection really needs to be a reflection of who the library community is.”

She hopes the books with add a variety of authors and points of view to the collection.

Books received will be for children from 0 to age 14 and were published in 2017.

The books are ones collected by the Association for Library Services to Children

from publishers hoping someone at the association will review the book and nominate it for an award, such as the Newberry Medal.

“They end up with this collection of thousands of new, perfect books …  so, they decided to take that and give it to libraries in need,” Kitchens said.

The books are expected to arrive in a few shipments from mid-April into May. Kitchens said it will probably take a few months to determine which books would be best at which location.

“We want to make sure that everyone gets what they need,” Kitchens said.