How has this gift impacted your student's interest in reading?
Our students have been greatly impacted by the pandemic. In September, many students returned to in person learning after 18 months of being home. The lack of access to physical books made our students hungry for visits to the library where they could browse, sit on our couches and read and leave with stacks of books to take home. For some of our students, the school library is the only place they have access to books. Maybe the public library is too far to walk to...maybe finances do not allow for purchasing books-- all of these things factor in to the day to day operation of a school library. However, budgets are tight. Reading levels are vast and without generous gifts such as the Brownstone Book Fund, it is almost impossible to target all reading and interest levels. Diversity and providing books in which our students see themselves represented on the pages is a priority for me. The books given to us by Brownstone showed our students that "books are mirrors." You can see yourself reflected on the pages. I think the proof that this gift impacted student's interest in reading is in our monthly statistics. In December 2019, pre-pandemic, our circulation was 1,377 for the month. In December 2020, with limited in person learning, our monthly circulation was 366. This past December, with all students back in person, with access to our new books, the circulation was 1,763. We are back to our pre-pandemic numbers and then some!
Did you develop any creative programs you would like to share with other librarians?
My focus for this school year is creating many ways to reach readers. In my Google Classroom, students will see me talking about books, students will see my NEXTFlix book shelves, and students can choose to accept my #pvmsreads 20 Book Challenge (originally created by Carrie Friday in Florida and adapted for our collection at Park View). We also had a fun round of "musical books!"
The following text was published in the Cranston Herald:
Several school libraries in Cranston were recently awarded a gift from the Brownstone Book Fund. Bain, Western Hills, Park View, Cranston East and Cranston West received a donation of 100 brand new, recently published books. The Brownstone Book Fund, a private foundation in New York City, is interested in fostering a love of books and encouraging families to read together.
Diane Brownstone, director of Brownstone Book Fund, notes: “I am interested in providing books for students, hopefully to excite and foster an early interest in and a love for books and reading. The library of my youth gave me an addiction to books that has enriched my life and my wish, with this collection, is to give this experience and pleasure to many other young people.”
This message went home to all students, families and staff.
Impact on Students:
"The books in the library are very diverse with different genres. My personal favorite are biographies including the "Who was, What was, and Where was" series. Before I became a student in Park View Middle School I wasn't much of a reader. I believe it's because my old school didn't have good biographies, but after becoming a student in this school, I spend most of my time in the library reading." -L.N., 8th grade student
"I really enjoyed reading the diverse selection of books my school library received, it's amazing to have so many available!" - T.C., 8th grade student
New books in the hands of students sends a message: you deserve the best. I love being able to hand a student a book that I know they will love. COVID learning loss has resulted in my library needing to provide literature for many different reading levels and sometimes our budgets cannot handle the amount of what we need. Grants and gifts such as this help us spread the joy of reading to everyone, regardless of reading level or interest. -Steph Mills
The books we have received from this grant have made a tangible difference in student reading habits. Students are much more eager to read the modern, exciting books that are now in my classroom library. This is helping students get reading back into their daily routine post-distance learning. -Garret McWeeney