Palisades Rotary Club Seeks Help Stocking an Inner-City School Library

By Sue Pascoe
Editor

The Rotary Club of Pacific Palisades, in conjunction with the nonprofit organization Access Books, is seeking residents who can help rehabilitate and restock an LAUSD elementary school library this coming school year.

Currently, there is no funding at the state or federal level for school libraries, and for many years California has consistently ranked near the bottom for school library funding. This has resulted not only in a limited number of books per children in schools, but the absence of a librarian at some schools.

Even worse, some schools have no operating school library. In some poor urban areas, there are as few as three books per children—and they are outdated. Many of the schools that Access Books works with haven’t had a school library upgraded in decades, and many still have books from the 1950s.

At the Chamber Expo in May, Tyler Bunn, 7, visited the Rotary Club’s booth, and promptly found a book that interested him.

At the Chamber Expo in May, Tyler Bunn, 7, visited the Rotary Club’s booth, and promptly found a book that interested him.

According to Access, books in California school libraries incur an additional charge of $10.25 to catalog the book. On average, a hardcover book costs $20, and with the cataloging fee, the book costs around $30, which is prohibitive for many under-served schools.

Access estimates that it will take about $18,000 to create and stock a library.

One way to help is by writing a tax-deductible check payable to The Rotary Club of Pacific Palisades Foundation, and mail to P.O. Box 114, Pacific Palisades 90272.

Donors giving a least $350 may participate in refurbishing and restocking the selected library this fall, so please include your phone number with the check. Access Books will purchase current, popular books and classics at a discount. The nonprofit also cuts costs by having volunteers catalogue the books. For every dollar donated, 96 cents goes to the program.

The Rotary Club has helped stock a library in the past and President Holly Davis said, “This is a project that changes lives.”

Another way to help is to donate “current” children’s books—new or gently used. These books will be placed in classrooms, not the library. The books should be appropriate for children in grades K-5. (To view a wish list, visit accessbooks.net). Encyclopedias, reference books or library discards will not be accepted. No adult books will be accepted.

Books may be left in the box on the front porch at Aldersgate Retreat Center, 925 Haverford Ave., or at Holly Davis’ Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage office, 15101 Sunset Blvd. If books are left with a name and address, a card will be sent for tax purposes.

Rotary Club President-Elect Pamela Kratochvil-Rodriguez said, “We prefer projects which have a long-term potential, which multiply the productivity of our work and dollars. This is that kind of project.”

(Editor’s note: The Rotary is an international service organization, with more than 1.2 million members, whose motto is “Service About Self.” For more information, visit clubrunner.ca/pacificpalisades/.)

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