Newark Middle School wins Dollar General book grant

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Soon after library media specialist Sam Lovejoy started working at Newark Middle School, he discovered the nonfiction collection was a bit dated. 

“After doing a collection analysis, I realized that the average age of our nonfiction titles was about 16 years old and what we strive for is no text older than 10 years for nonfiction,” he said. “This means we needed a big influx of new and relevant titles for our students.”  

Lovejoy explored “outside” sources of funding and discovered the Dollar General Literacy Foundation annually awards literacy initiative grants to nonprofit organizations, libraries and schools. He and Laurie Palmisano, director of community schools and grant services, wrote a grant and received $2,500 to purchase up to 250 new nonfiction texts. 

“Our goals with the new texts are to not only get updated and relevant books into our students’ hands, but to partner with teachers to make sure that we are meeting their curricular needs,” Lovejoy said. “We will be working with teachers to select titles that will help them with their lessons and hopefully plan some units with them. This grant will allow us to not only get new titles with more relevant information, but to get books that will be both educational and capture the students’ interest.” 

The NMS Library grant award is part of more than $3 million awarded this fall to nearly 760 recipients across the 46 states that Dollar General serves. 

“Updating our library with exciting and relevant text is so important for our students,” Principal Teresa Prinzi said. “Mr. Lovejoy’s passion for providing our middle school students with great literary experiences is amazing. This grant is an example of his dedication to finding ways to provide our students with text that they may not have had otherwise.”