Earlier this year an elementary school in Paterson (grades K-5) opened up a library in their school. Children who did not have access to their town public library now had easy access to books. Due to budget constraints however the school library (with a student population of 600) was in need of books.
I put the word out to Verona houses of worship, organizations and our own library Director, Jim Thomas asking for gently used books. I referred to the campaign as, “No book left behind”. The response was overwhelming and before long the empty shelves of the school library and classrooms were filling with books and put into the hands of children eager to read them. Books which were not age appropriate for the classroom or library were made available to parents during parent/teacher functions to take home to siblings.
The children loved the library and easy access to the world through reading. They would look forward to new books as they were brought to school by the media specialist. Down time between lessons or at lunch now became time for reading. No doubt their test scores this year will reflect a positive change.
Thanks to all who donated books. It made such a delightful difference in the lives of young children, eager to read. For some it provided an escape to places they may never otherwise see. It helped them learn more about their world and provided positive entertainment. Books made available to parents for younger siblings encouraged them (not yet in school) to read as well.
Unfortunately Paterson schools are facing the same economic difficulties as most schools in our state. As a result the library will be closing along with the other elementary school libraries in Paterson as of June 30th. They will also lose their music and art programs. It is a sad situation for all of us. If children are our future we must look at the present challenges and choose wisely.