Four Polk schools get $10k each for library books

Published 9:35 pm Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The State Library of North Carolina, a division of the Department of Cultural Resources, has awarded four Polk County schools $10,000 grants to help strengthen their library’s book collections.

Polk Central Elementary, Polk County High, Saluda Elementary, and Sunny View Elementary each received grants for the 2010-11 school year.

Polk County’s School Library Collection Development Grants were four of 76 awarded this year to public school libraries statewide with federal Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) funds.

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Every four dollars of grant funds must be matched with at least one dollar in local funds. Each schools Parent-Teacher Organization (PTO) and/or Polk County Schools provided the matching grant funds, raising the total project funds at each school to $12,500 for library books!

“This school library collection development grant helps us build a strong book collection to support the schools curriculum, said Angela Hall, librarian at Sunny View School. “We struggle to maintain a collection that is current and meets student needs, but this will help!”

“Our average book is 21 years old,” she added, noting that the grant will be used to replace outdated books as well as to add new books to the library’s collection.

“Our grant will focus on social studies nonfiction and high-interest fiction We should be able to add at least 500 books! Hall said.

Polk County High School will focus its grant purchases on science, history/geography and fiction.

Our students and teachers are already benefiting from the new additions, states librarian Nancy Hague.

Saluda Elementary will purchase new books that pair fiction with related nonfiction titles to support student learning across the curriculum. Librarian Kevin Burnett reports that they will also increase their bilingual offerings of books that combine English and Spanish languages. &bsp;

Susan Smith, librarian at Polk Central Elementary, commented on their grant focus: The average age of our science collection is 1995, and those books do not accurately portray our rapidly changing world. Grant funds will be used to update and expand our science and technology collections, and enlarge our fiction and easy collections. Grant monies will fund the purchase of approximately 520 books. Students as well as staff are very excited to see the new books reach the shelves.

Research completed in North Carolina and other states shows a link between levels of spending on the school library’s book collection and student achievement, indicating that the library is a good place to start when it comes to academic success.

The grant applications received by the state library provide clear evidence that many school libraries have seriously outdated print collections. The grant funds assist school librarians in developing stronger book collections that support reading, reading readiness, and student achievement.

The single-year grants are to buy books only, and are not offered to replace existing funding for the library. Overall, the grants to school libraries this year totaled $745,684. Through this program, 988 grants have been awarded to the more than 2,400 North Carolina public schools since 2000.

These grants are one means to focus the attention of teachers, principals and parents on the need to maintain strong print collections in school libraries. &bsp;

The LSTA funds awarded by the State Library of North Carolina are made possible by a grant from the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services.