The list of benefits children get from reading is an impressive one that includes improved focus, concentration, communication and social skills. Books also offer a new world to explore and understand as well as expands creative thinking and visualization.
When Los Osos Middle School students return to school on Aug. 19, the campus library will have enough new books to make the little bookworm in everyone happy. The new collection is thanks to a group of community members who collectively ensured that nearly 70 new hardback books could keep the kids turning pages rather than channels.
Last year campus was pretty quiet with classroom instruction taking place online, so school librarian, Cassondra Abercrombie, decided to tackle the job of organizing the stacks and noticed that many titles were in such terrible condition that they were barely readable. On top of that, some well-loved books had been lost.
The school’s Parent, Teacher, Student Association, Volumes of Pleasure Book Shoppe and Quota International of Morro Bay jumped in to fill the need.
“I think that books are fundamental to children’s education,” said Lindsey Rapone, PTSA secretary. “If youth have access to books they will go much further than those without access to books. I loved to read as a child and now my son, Colton, who is going into 7th grade at LOMS, loves to read. It gives youth the ability to escape into a whole other world and sparks their imagination.”
Rapone spread the word on local social media sites and was met with an “overwhelming” response with people offering books from their own collections or wanting to give cash donations. One person suggested that Volumes of Pleasure be brought into the cause.
Carroll Leslie, the owner of the bookstore, and an employee, Ellen Perryess, were eager to help and already had a fund of about $350 and a system in place.
“These kids are the next generation,” said Leslie. “We need people to be thinkers and to ferret out what’s opinion and what’s fact. I think that’s the thing that has driven us as a bookstore, and that’s why we want to participate in providing thoughtful, interesting, helpful books.”
Since each new, hardback book costs about $17 to purchase, Volumes of Pleasure has a program where people can donate $20 and schools will receive the new reading material that included a bookplate recognizing the donor or someone of their choice. Any residual money or smaller donations are held until there is enough to purchase more titles of books. So far the store works with both San Luis Coastal and Lucia Mar school districts.
Quota Club members Patti James, scholarship committee chair, and Marlene Owens, education chair, saw the post about the need for new books and were ready to jump on board keeping in line with the service club’s goal to empower at risk women and children on the North Coast and beyond. They donated $500.
Coupled with donations from community members, about $1100 was raised, almost fulfilling most of the librarians list. Abercrombie is on maternity leave, but when she somes back, the library is bound to be filled with kids looking to spark their imagination and escape to new adventures.
“I am overwhelmed by the generosity of our community,” Rapone said. “Thank you to everyone who helped us. Books are the most important thing a student should have, and now LOMS will have tons of new titles to fall in love with.”
To make a donation for school library books, go to Volumes of Pleasure located at 1016 Los Osos Valley Rd., Los Osos. Checks can also be sent to Los Osos Middle School, 1555 El Moro Ave, Los Osos, CA 93402. Be sure to indicate that the money is for the library.
Parents or guardians interested in joining the PTSA can contact President Nelly Ochoa-Lepe at firstname.lastname@example.org. The group will focus on fundraising early in the 2021-22 school year to ensure adequate funds are available for events. Readers are encouraged to keep an eye out for the first fundraiser, which will most likely be an opportunity to lend support by purchasing Krispy Kreme donuts.