There’s less empty space on the library shelves at Elmira’s schools thanks to an annual donation from the Kiwanis Club of Elmira.
Park Manor PS, John Mahood PS, Riverside PS, Floradale PS and St. Teresa of Avila Catholic School all received $600 worth of new books, part of an ongoing contribution from the local service club.
Park Manor library clerk Marion Grant says it’s difficult to pinpoint how many books each school receives but each book ranges from $10 to $15 a piece.
“It also depends because they give $600 to K-5 schools as well so you’re talking totally different numbers of books whether it’s their school or our senior school,” Grant said.
The schools have benefited from the donation cheque and the subsequent books for many years and speaking on behalf of all five schools, she says the students and teachers alike appreciate the support.
“I have to say that because it comes every year we would really notice if it didn’t exist anymore,” she said.
At Park Manor they typically focus the funds on buying fiction books for the library. When they arrive, she sets up a display to let students know which books are new. But they can’t stay up for long because the students are eager to get their hands and eyes on them.
“I make an announcement, ‘these are from Kiwanis. If you know any members in town, thank them.’ We are grateful to have these books. Even if it’s behind the scenes they are certainly getting the benefit from the donation.”
The books are selected by a digital literacy support teacher at the school board. The donations go to them, they make the purchases and then the books are sent to the schools. The books chosen for purchase are those known to be high turnover books and the students do have some say, as Grant says they take note of which books students often request.
Despite more and more emphasis on technology, there’s still plenty of use for the library. Grant explains language arts teachers at Park Manor require students to always have a book on the go, and for the French Immersion students they’re required to be reading one English and one French book.
Each class comes to the library once a week to exchange or renew their books.
She notes they’ve tried to show the Kiwanis Club their appreciation in the past as some staff from Riverside PS did a presentation at one of the club’s meeting to explain exactly how the donations impact the students. Without the club’s support, it’s unclear where the funds for new books would come from.
“We keep our fingers crossed because what if it just doesn’t happen anymore? But so far it’s A-OK and looking good.”
Ron Wagner from the Kiwanis Club of Elmira says they’ve been donating funds for new books for the schools for six or seven years and he expects them to continue for the foreseeable future since their mandate is supporting children in the community.
One of the headings on their main website is Books for Kids, which involves Scholar’s Choice bringing books into the schools, but the program doesn’t run in Canada because the schools indicated they don’t feel they books are the best quality.
“So we just give them the money and they can spend it wherever they like. We know the importance of children and reading, so that’s another really good reason for doing it.”