Record number of APS media centers receive grants from Laura Bush Foundation for America’s Libraries

A record 15 Atlanta Public Schools media centers received $6,000 grants from the Laura Bush Foundation for America’s Libraries on Friday — by far the most of any school district in the nation. The former first lady made the announcement in Miami. The grants are awarded to help media specialists expand, update and diversify their library book collections. APS represented 8 percent of the 188 school libraries that were selected throughout the nation (earning a total of $1,098,634 in grant money).  Last year 10 of the 158 libraries selected were from APS.

According to APS Media Services Coordinator Warren Goetzel, funding for book collections has never been more important. Right now the elementary schools get $15.31 per student per year in state funding, while middle schools and high schools get $13.03 per student per year. “And that’s for all media materials, not just books,” said Goetzel, who made a strong push for his media specialists to apply for the grant this year. “The average cost of a book is $25. Books become obsolete pretty rapidly these days, and they don’t have the money to update them.” He added that the average usable life of a non-fiction is about five years due to rapid changes in science and technology. “Consider that Pluto’s not a planet anymore,” he said. “Any time there are those changes, you have to discard the book and start over.”

Goetzel was particularly proud of his media specialists for rising to the challenge and taking advantage of this crucial funding opportunity: “External funding is critical to build and maintain balanced book collections. Our media specialists are so dedicated to their staff and students to make sure they have the most updated resources availability.”

Here is the list of the grant-winning APS media centers and their media specialists, after the jump …

Adamsville Elementary School – Megann Williams
B.E.S.T. Academy – Kellye Carter
Booker T. Washington High School – Jerol Smith and Webster Wallace
Burgess-Peterson Academy – Lisa Carter
Emma Hutchinson Elementary School – Shirley Miller
F.L. Stanton Elementary School – Julian Daniels
Harper-Archer Middle School – Keisha Robinson
M. Agnes Jones Elementary School – Gigi Miller
Parkside Elementary School – Stephanie Gwinn
The New Schools at Carver – Kay Weaver
Whitefoord Elementary School – Valerie Wolny
Crawford W. Long Middle School – Jacqueline Jordan
Paul L. Dunbar Elementary School – Oreta Taylor
Thomasville Heights Elementary School – Imogene Mackey
Walter Leonard Parks Middle School – Leigh Peterson

According to a press release, the Laura Bush Foundation for America’s Libraries was founded in 2002 as a fund of The Community Foundation for the National Capital Region. Since its inception, the Laura Bush Foundation has awarded more than $7.3 million to 1,433 schools in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Marshall Islands and the Northern Mariana Islands. In addition to these yearly grants, the Foundation has also awarded more than $5.7 million to school libraries in the Gulf Coast region to rebuild their library book collections that were lost or destroyed by hurricanes or storms.

The grant application process is administered by The Community Foundation for the National Capital Region with guidance from The Laura Bush Foundation’s Advisory Committee. The grants are funded through generous donations to the endowment from individuals, corporations and foundations. The mission of the Laura Bush Foundation for America’s Libraries is to support the education of our nation’s children by providing funds to update, extend and diversify the book and print collections of America’s school libraries. Further information is available at

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