Author: Ann Bourne

SLIS gives over $23,200 in new free books to Black Belt School Libraries

During March 2020,  The University of Alabama School of Library and Information Studies (SLIS) will award over $23,200 in new, free books to elementary, middle, and high school libraries in Alabama via the SLIS Book Bonanza for the Black Belt & Beyond Program.

School librarians in the Black Belt region were asked to apply for the book give-away program in February 2020. We received applications from 26 highly deserving schools. The judges chose five school libraries in the Black Belt Region of the state to receive on average $3,300 each in brand new children’s and/or young adult books. The judging of the applications was rigorous, as every school exemplified a significant need.

We have selected also two Book Bonanza Beyond winners. The Beyond winner is a low-income private school in the Black Belt Region of the state, or a public school demonstrating significant economic need in an area of the state outside of the Black Belt. The purpose of this award is to give an equally deserving school library, that is not eligible to be a Book Bonanza for the Black Belt Winner, a one-time opportunity to address literacy needs in their school community. Each of these schools will also receive on average $3,300 in brand new children’s and/or young adult books.

University of Alabama SLIS graduate students participated in the judging of applications and selection of books for the winning school libraries.

Please join SLIS in congratulating the following winning school libraries:

2020 Book Bonanza Black Belt Winners:

Aliceville Elementary School, serving grades K-6 (Pickens County), Librarian Shannon Moore

Dixie Elementary School, serving grades PreK-5 (Russell Country), Librarian Charity Wade

Goshen High School, serving grades 7-12 (Pike County), Librarian Kim Dillard

Moundville Elementary School, serving grades PreK-5 (Hale County), Librarian Wendy Tucker

William R. Martin Middle School, serving grades 7-8 (Dallas County), Librarian Debra Stauffer

2020 Book Bonanza Beyond Winner:

Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School, serving grades PreK-5 (Madison County), Librarian Jared Wasson

Westlawn Middle School, serving grades 6-8 (Tuscaloosa County), Librarian Georgia Tidwell

Note: County listed is the county in which the school resides and not necessarily the name of the school system.

Established in 2009 by Dr. Jamie Campbell Naidoo, the SLIS Book Bonanza for the Black Belt (& Beyond) is an annual program that provides free new books to school libraries in the Black Belt region of state. Schools in the Black Belt region are encouraged to apply again in January 20201 for a chance to receive free books for their school libraries during the next SLIS Book Bonanza for the Black Belt & Beyond Program. Low-income private schools in the Black Belt Region or schools in economically disadvantaged areas of the state outside the Black Belt are encouraged to apply next year (in January 2021) to be a Beyond Winner.  If you need additional information about the program, please contact Dr. Jamie C. Naidoo at or SLIS at 205-348-4610. Information is also available here, on the program website.

Book Arts Students Accolades: March 2020

SLIS offers congratulations to the four MFA students who were accepted into the Morgan Conservatory’s 8th Annual Juried Exhibition. This is an incredible honor, as there are more than 500 applicants and only 50 works selected. Congratulations to Maggie Minor, Christina Lilly, Cheri Marks, and Sarah Scarr. Read more about the exhibition here.

Alumni Accolades: December 2019










SLIS congratulates Rebecca Gerber (MLIS ’08) for her new position as the Electronic Resources Analyst at Abbott Laboratories in Illinois. She was previously the Librarian at the American Library Association.


Alumni Accolades: November 2019

Left to right: Dr. Patricia Brennan, NLM Director; Rachel F. Fenske; Carla Funk, Secretary, FNLM Board of Directors


Left to right: Sheldon Kotzin, former NLM Library Operations Chief; Rachel F. Fenske; Tony Nguyen, Executive Director of NNLM SEA; Mary J. Tooey, Director of NNLM SEA


SLIS congratulates Rachel F. Fenske (MLIS ’87) on her 2019 Michael E. DeBakey Library Services Outreach Award, presented by the Friends of the National Library of Medicine. Ms. Fenske is currently employed as Information Services and Outreach Librarian in the Biomedical Library at the University of South Alabama. Read more about the award here.