Batesville Intermediate School Earns American Library Association Program Award

Date 2020-09-18 | Charity / Donations

CHICAGO — The American Library Association (ALA) has awarded its 2020 Sara Jaffarian School Library Program Award to Batesville (Ind.) Intermediate School for its Junior Ambassadors program.

The $5,000 Jaffarian Award, supported by ALA’s Cultural Communities Fund, recognizes excellence in humanities programming in libraries that serve grades K-8.

Using the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Book Club for young people, the Junior Ambassadors program seeks to bring a global perspective to the school’s curriculum.

The program, led by media specialist/school librarian Anne Amrhein, served 24 students in the 2019-2020 school year. During meetings, students worked to create multimedia presentations, posters and public service announcements based on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, such as zero hunger and gender equality.

The Junior Ambassadors then scheduled presentations with every classroom to engage and inform all 480 third-, fourth- and fifth-grade students.

The program also featured weekly guest speakers ranging from local food pantry administrators, state hunger activists and global partners working to improve the lives of those in Kenya and Haiti. The school partnered with local business Hillenbrand to secure funding for book club purchases.

Through this program, the students launched their mission and introduced their projects through a "press conference" attended by families, Hillenbrand executives and the local newspaper. Students also publicized and executed a school-wide Read-a-thon to raise money for the Grain-of-Rice project, with the funds used to build elementary schools in Kenya.

Anne Amrhein will present a free one-hour webinar on the award-winning program at 1 p.m. CT on Thursday, November 5. Registration for the webinar can be found on ALA’s Programming Librarian website.

This year’s Jaffarian Award Committee was chaired by Kelly Hincks, a school librarian at Detroit Country Day School in Bloomfield Hills, Mich. Other members included Chris Young, middle and upper school librarian at Metairie (La.) Park Country Day School; Dr. Meghan Harper, associate professor at Kent State University School of Information in Kent, Ohio.; and Melissa Hozik, adult programming librarian at East Brunswick (N.J.) Public Library. The Jaffarian Award is administered by ALA’s Public Programs Office in cooperation with the American Association of School Librarians (AASL). Applications for the 2021 award will open in February 2021. Application information, award guidelines and a list of previous winners are available at

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About the ALA Public Programs Office

The American Library Association (ALA) Public Programs Office empowers libraries to create vibrant hubs of learning, conversation and connection in communities of all types.

About the American Association of School Librarians

The American Association of School Librarians,, a division of the American Library Association (ALA), empowers leaders to transform teaching and learning.

About the American Library Association

The American Library Association (ALA) is the foremost national organization providing resources to inspire library and information professionals to transform their communities through essential programs and services. For more than 140 years, the ALA has been the trusted voice for academic, public, school, government and special libraries, advocating for the profession and the library’s role in enhancing learning and ensuring access to information for all. For more information, visit