JACKSON TWP.  The Jackson Local Schools' elementary libraries were recently awarded a grant from bestselling author James Patterson to support library programming. In addition to the $6,500 grant from Patterson, Scholastic Reading Club will match each dollar of the grant with bonus points that teachers can use to purchase books for the five elementary libraries.

Grant amounts ranged from $1,000 to $10,000. Jackson libraries were selected from thousands of applications from around the country. Reportedly, Patterson personally reads and selects all the grant recipients. Schools were asked to share stories of their libraries including past efforts to make improvements.

Patterson writes many types of books for adults and children. Sarah Hamilton, supervisor of the Jackson Elementary libraries, said many of his books are aimed at the middle grade students. She said the grant and the bonus points will be put to good use.

"We plan to use the Patterson grant to purchase books to support specialized programming which is tied to the district’s curriculum," Hamilton said. "Patterson knows the importance of school libraries and wants to infuse money into them. One part of the grant will be used to bring award-winning local children’s author Shelley Pearsall to visit the fifth-grade classes in May. I also had a specific program in mind when I wrote the application for the grant."

Hamilton said she thought Jackson Local Elementary libraries application stood out because of a special program planned for the fifth graders. Students will be participating in creating book trailer videos. Students will read a book and then create a video summarizing the book and encouraging other students to read it.

"The program combines technology skills with the student’s love of reading," Hamilton said. "It’s also a project that sparks creativity. The Patterson grant will help us purchase more books for the students so they have a wider selection to choose from."

She said other schools have participated in the same type of project, but she believes Jackson’s programming stood out to Patterson because it involves all fifth-grade students versus just a few. Selecting such a large group of students effects a greater impact.

"The students have already been creating the book trailers and will continue through the spring," Hamilton said. "This is a large project and it’s a generous grant and we appreciate receiving it."

Students' book trailers can be viewed starting in early January at http://booknook.infohio.org/. They will also be available on the district’s website at http://www.jackson.stark.k12.oh.us/; click on Libraries at the top of the page and then click on Elementary School Libraries to find the videos.

Books for all the elementary students and libraries at Amherst, Lake Cable, Sauder and Strausser will be purchased using the matching Scholastic Reading Club points.