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TCS libraries receive additional funding for books

check presented to school librarian for books

Every library in the Tuscaloosa City Schools received significant funding this week to purchase books for their libraries as part of an “Innovative Approaches to Literacy” 5-year grant.

Now, because of the additional funding that will purchase new books, all but three of the TCS school libraries are expected to reach “exemplary” status, meaning the library collections are up to date, robust and have high-interest books.

“The Tuscaloosa City Schools made the commitment six years ago to heal our libraries by lifting their collections to the level defined as “exemplary” in Alabama: 15 books per student enrolled with an average age of 10 years or less,” said Dr. Andrew Maxey, TCS director of strategic initiatives. “Since then we have invested significant funds in all 18 libraries.”

Funding that the schools received this week varied from $40,000 for Bryant High School and the Alberta School of Performing Arts to $32,000 at Northridge Middle School and $28,000 at Southview Elementary. The allocation for each school was based on the amount needed to achieve exemplary status.

The Innovative Approaches to Literacy grant won by the district in 2021 has helped push many of the schools toward that “exemplary” status, which is based on American Association of School Libraries standards.

“Thanks to the strategic planning of the grant administration team, $320,000 in grant funds have been allocated for library collections,” Maxey said. “When combined with the district's annual budget for this work, nine more libraries will reach the "exemplary" threshold once books have been purchased, processed, and added to their collections. By the end of this school year, 15 of 18 libraries will have exemplary collections.”

This means that by the end of this school year, all TCS school libraries except Bryant High School, Central High School and The Alberta School of Performing Arts will have reached “exemplary” status. Those three schools are expected to achieve “exemplary status” by the end of the 2024-25 school year, Maxey said.

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