Classroom Library Grant applications are being accepted now through August 9, 2021, and are available to help members of Sigma Tau Delta who have been teaching in the middle school or high school classroom for five years or fewer. That is, applicants may or may not be recent college graduates; the Classroom Library Grant is intended to help new teachers, whether in their first years out of college or in the first years of a second career, to build a classroom library for their students.
Competition can either bring out the best or the worst in a chapter. Competition was the organizing principle behind Alpha Psi Delta‘s use of the 2020 Sigma Tau Delta Classroom Library Grant. Our chapter used the $400 grant to sponsor a competition or challenge for members to procure books for our classroom library. The Book Drive Donation Competition featured a top award of $200 for the individual (or team) with the most overall points in the competition. A second-place prize of $125 was offered to the individual (or team) with the second-highest points, and a final $75 prize was awarded to the third-place individual (or team). The goals of the competition were to promote literacy and language via social media platforms and to solicit books and donations to fund the classroom library. For chapter members to enter the competition, they had to submit an initial wish list of 25 books. To engage faculty and department support for the book drive, the chapter solicited book lists from the faculty and staff within the English department. The books submitted by the department were used to create a department wish list; all books on the department wish list were worth 3 points. Books on the faculty advisor list were worth 2 points, and books on members’ lists earned them (or the team) 1 point.
The Book Drive Competition required chapter members to create social media campaigns targeted toward acquiring these texts and winning the cash award. Some members perused the lists and created campaigns around social justice, Black women, and female empowerment. Others created campaigns to focus on the genres: Black autobiographies, Black classics, and/or poetry. Some flat out begged for folks to send them books; while others artistically articulated the need for these seminal books to be a part of our classroom collection. Some chapter members went above and beyond in the attempt to compete and secure the cash award, and unfortunately, others failed to participate or even place in the competition.
COVID-19 stymied chapter efforts to complete the book drive. Members were unable to collect all book donations because of quarantine guidelines and social distancing policies. The chapter was unable to verify donations because donors left books in designated social spaces to avoid direct contact (e.g. the Student Success Center and the English Department), and chapter members were unable to determine the original campaign for the donation. The Book Drive Donation Competition allowed our chapter to collect 134 books from a variety of genres. We received religious texts, children’s books, young adult memoirs, and textbooks in addition to books on respective booklists. In addition to books, this competition allowed our chapter to reach audiences (both local and national) to remind them of the value of literature and the necessity to read and promote literacy. Chapter members’ posts, tweets, and TikToks allowed us to expand our library significantly.
Even though competition can bring out the best and the worst in a chapter, this competition allowed the Alpha Psi Delta Chapter to realize the power of social media and how to use social media as a tool in the fight against illiteracy. The competition also taught our chapter valuable lessons in leadership, service, and team building. According to Jade McNeal, Chapter President, “The book drive competition allowed me to indulge in my love of literacy; each book that I solicited is proof of my lifelong commitment to reading.” COVID-19 restrictions prompted the chapter to extend the due date for final book donations. Winners of the Book Donation Drive Competition will be announced and awarded at the Spring Chapter Induction Ceremony.
Sigma Tau Delta Classroom Library Grants
Sigma Tau Delta’s Classroom Library Grants are designed to enhance the Society’s goals of
- promoting interest in literature and language in the surrounding communities;
- fostering all aspects of the discipline of English, including literature, language, and writing; and
- serving society by fostering literacy.
The Classroom Library Grants are also intended to support our members who have entered the field of teaching and need material support to help achieve these goals through their work in the classroom by providing their students with a library in their own classrooms, especially where access to school or public libraries or to books in the home may be limited.
The Society will award up to five grants of $400 each per year to help members of Sigma Tau Delta who have been teaching in the classroom for five years or fewer. That is, applicants may or may not be recent college graduates; the Classroom Library Grant is intended to help new teachers, whether in their first years out of college or in the first years of a second career, to build a classroom library for their students.
Criteria For Selection
In choosing recipients, the Classroom Library Grant Committee will consider the following criteria:
- lack of economic and geographic access to books at your school, or another demonstrated need;
- the explanation of how the classroom library envisioned will support your goals in alignment with the Society’s goals; and
- supervisory endorsement of your classroom library project.
Please note that this grant is now only available to middle school and high school educators.
Deadline and Dates
Applications will be accepted July 5 through August 9, 2021, 11:59 p.m. CST. Awards will be announced September 3, 2021.