Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The School Library Project

I've written about my love for my former elementary school before.  It holds a huge piece of my heart, and at least a few times a year, I have dreams that I'm again walking through its halls and peeking in on the spaces that used to be my classrooms. This January, it occurred to me to donate a few books to the school's library, and after emailing the current librarian to find out what the students would most want to read, I ordered a number of books from amazon and had them shipped to the school directly.  That was January.  In the months since, finding more books for the kids--and more recently, stuffed animals and dolls of book characters to accompany the books--has become a passion of mine.  As of August 23rd, I've donated 188 books and 22 book character toys/dolls to this sweet school.  That thrills me.  :) 

When the librarian emailed me a picture of one of the students holding a couple books from the Easter-themed order I'd sent in April, I was still smiling hours later when I showed it to Mike.   
And when she mentioned in a thank-you note toward the end of last school year that the books had been a "life saver" since the school had no money in its budget for new books, I was even happier that I'd decided to start doing this.  (That so many schools don't have enough money to buy books--or to maintain libraries at all--makes me shake my head.)   
Since I wasn't sure when staff would be in the school building over the summer, I had the books and toys and dolls I'd ordered in June, July, and August mailed to Mike's and my apartment.  It was fun but cluttered here this summer, then, until I could finally box everything up and we could walk it all to the post office a few weeks ago.  A bow-headed Junie B. Jones had for weeks been staring at us from the rocking chair while we ate.  A green-suited Geronimo Stilton mouse would watch us from inside a plastic bag until we nestled him down into a package.  The hutch had become Sorting Central for some of the classic characters from my own childhood.  Mike just shook his head whenever he spotted the latest googley-eyed stuffed animal on the wing chair or propped up on the dining table, but I got a huge kick out of seeing these characters' faces grinning all around us.  I probably have more fun with all this than the books' and toys' recipients do.  :)
I check the school library's online catalog before buying books so I have a better idea of what the students already have, what they need, which award-winners their collection is missing, and which titles and series and authors are the most popular.  And I also look for donation-worthy-condition copies of rarer but beloved-to-me books I simply want the kids to have, like Fifth Grade Magic and Holly Hobbie's Cookbook. 
One book at a time, the library grows. 
If the time comes when the school can no longer support a library, as the hometown newspaper recently suggested as a future possibility for all the schools in the district due to state budget cuts--and "God forbid," and it would break my heart--I will just mail books to the school's teachers for their individual classroom libraries, I suppose.  But (that would be harder and more expensive, and) I hope it never comes to that.  Libraries matter. 
A new school year has begun, though, and like little Pinkalicious below, I wave my magic wand to the extent that I can, which isn't much, really, but again:  One book at a time.  And I look forward to the next nine months of finding titles and toys for the kids who are lucky enough to be this dear school's current students. 


Balisha said...

Oh Val....what a wonderful thing to do. I have special memories of our little library in my hometown. We didn't have libraries in schools when I was a student...just a shelf with some very loved books. I just have to say it again....what a wonderful thing to do.
Balisha ((hugs))

oldgreymareprimitives said...

This is a beautiful idea and I cannot imagine a more thoughtful way to assist the leaders of tomorrow and ease the burden of an overburdened school system.
One person and one gesture can save the world. If only most folks would follow your lead...

I will take this kind gesture of yours and it will fill my heart all day.
Thank you

La Table De Nana said...

You ARE a magical young woman!♥
I love this idea..
The libary should be named after you..
I know that's the last of your thoughts..but it came to mine.
What a positively beautiful thing to do..
I am going to send this to my teacher daughter.
She will love this♥
What a sweetie pie you are.

La Table De Nana said...

Just an opportunity to say WOW again:)

Teresa Schubert said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Teresa Schubert said...

What a truly beautiful thing for you to do! I've always believed that what we sow, we reap - Good things coming your way, lovely girl ;-)
sugar, spice and whatever's nice

Val said...

Thank you all. Truly, I have so many beautiful memories of this school and its teachers and staff, this is the least I could do. ♥

FlowerLady Lorraine said...

You are such a dear, kindhearted person Val and it really shows in this undertaking of yours. What a wonderful thing to do.

Love and hugs to you ~ FlowerLady

Lisa said...

This is a wonderful thing, Val! And I think you must be having fun choosing. :)

Val said...

Thank you, Lorraine, and ohhhh, Lisa! I love it all. In a past life--and who knows, maybe sometime in the future in this one--I'm sure I was an elementary teacher. ♥

Marie Rayner said...

Oh boy Val! What a wonderful service you are doing for the school and those children! I am in awe of you. I truly am. You are such a special girl Val and I know you don't do this for any accolades and you are probably embarassed at the thought of being held in high esteem because of this and that only makes you all the more precious to me. Love you! xxoo