I’d like to give a shout out to Patricia Wiles, Assistant Regional Advisor Chair, Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI)
She organized a “book giveaway basket” at a recent SCBWI conference in Nashville. Her quest was to build a small library for a special school, Alternative Day Treatment, in her county. This school is for students who are unable to function in a traditional classroom setting. In other words, it's an alternative to expulsion.
Patricia toured the school this spring as part of a leadership training class she was involved in. In her words:
It was a gut-wrenching experience. The counselor led us down a hall to a door with a sign, printed on computer paper, taped to it: "Our Library." Inside the room, there were a few old encyclopedia volumes from the 60s and 70s. A few old old old textbooks. A small portable cart with adult nonfiction and romance titles from the 60s and 70s. There were NO BOOKS for teen readers.
On October 6, Patricia delivered 400 books donated by the SCBWI conference attendees and friends to Alternate Day Treatment. Patricia stated in her follow-up email:
…I can't even begin to describe the joy I saw in the faces of the faculty. Itmeant so much to them. Their jobs are challenging, made more so because they are on the bottom of the list when it comes to funding for anything.
The kids SWARMED the boxes! They picked up books and asked me about them. Some asked me if there were books by specific authors, which authors signed their books, or if there were books in particular genres. One saw books by a certain author in the stack and spoke of how he'd read several in the series, and did we have any more of his books?”
The story gets better:
…The principal made the comment that they were going to have to figure out how to get more bookshelves. They didn't have enough to hold all the books. Well, the city was preparing for a surplus auction (set for tomorrow) and so I called the mayor's assistant ... the mayor said the school could have any of the bookshelves in the auction that they wanted. Sweet!...
And that is how one dedicated person built a library…with a little help from her friends. Thanks Patricia!