A new chapter for Glennon Heights Elementary

Kiwanis Club of Lakewood funds hundreds of new books for school library

Posted 2/28/19

The library at Glennon Heights Elementary School in Lakewood was in need of a makeover for the school’s 250 some kindergarten through sixth grade students. Books were ripped and old, photos inside …

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A new chapter for Glennon Heights Elementary

Kiwanis Club of Lakewood funds hundreds of new books for school library

Posted

The library at Glennon Heights Elementary School in Lakewood was in need of a makeover for the school’s 250 some kindergarten through sixth grade students. Books were ripped and old, photos inside some books still had people dressed in 1970 clothing and the library’s space section still had Pluto listed as a planet.

The problem wasn’t an easy fix for Jennifer Martin, the school’s librarian. She says the school’s library operates on a $250 budget each year, making it hard for her to order new books.

That problem was erased after Kathryn Williams, the president of Kiwanis Club of Lakewood, canvased schools and saw a lack of new non-fiction books at Glennon Heights Elementary School. The Kiwanis Club of Lakewood, a club that works to improve the lives of children in the community, gave a $5,000 check last November to the school to help get new library books. The school recently introduced over 330 new books to its students at a book walk to preview the library’s new collection.

“It would take (Glennon Heights Elementary School) 20 years to get that number of books with the kind of budget they receive. To get a huge thing of books, ones that are necessary for their curriculum — that’s a huge impact,” said Williams.

Glennon Heights Elementary School used the $5,000 to purchase biology, physical science, sports, graphic novels, STEM and picture books. It also brought in books about friendship, kindness, respect and bullying as the school focuses on teaching its students kindness and respect for each other. The books were selected after Martin consulted teachers about what books are needed for research.

“We haven’t had a lot of new books for a very long time. Nothing beats a good print book in a child’s hand, being able to interact with that book, see the pictures and share with someone else,” said Martin. “I really pride myself on making sure kids still enjoy reading a book in their hands.”

Students are on a set schedule to visit the library every other week, but Martin says they can come in and check out a book anytime. The library is used as a classroom, for research and for enjoyment.

Bill Stidham, the principal of Glennon Heights Elementary School, said 65 percent of the school’s population is on free and reduced lunch, while others struggle with poverty — something that impacts student’s school work. Teachers at the school work to help students with their social and emotional skills, and Stidham anticipates the revamped library adding another layer of support for student’s academics and social and emotional skills.

“(The donation) is a huge blessing for a library that goes back 60 years in terms of the books we have and a huge blessing and gift for our students to have access to high quality fiction and non-fiction materials,” said Stidham.

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