Arnold School gets Laura Bush grant for library’s update
by DELANEY WALKER Banner Staff Writer
May 22, 2014 | 921 views | 0 0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Arnold Memorial Elementary School was one of 219 schools to be awarded money from the Laura Bush Foundation for America’s Libraries.

The foundation donated a total of $1,095,000 in grants for 2014. The local elementary school received $5,000 to “expand, update and diversify” the library collection offered at the school.

“We are excited to have such a large infusion of funds into our media center,” said Arnold Principal Mike Chai. “This will put books and magazines into the hands of our students, which is a great thing.”

Parent and Teacher Organization president Jennifer Cornett found the grant. She worked alongside Arnold Elementary parent Vanessa Hammond to gather and write-up the appropriate responses. Arnold media specialist Vivian Davis provided needed information about the school’s library.

The grant was submitted in December.

“I actually assumed we had not won, because it had just been so long,” Cornett said. “I had actually forgotten about it.” 

Thoughts of the grant returned in early May when Davis informed her the foundation had granted the award to Arnold Elementary.

All three ladies were delighted to hear the news.

“We are very excited for the opportunity to make significant changes in the library,” Davis said. “With the information explosion, it is imperative for school libraries to meet the challenges of the 21st century.”

Money from the grant will address needs brought on by a growing student body and changing education system. According to a press release, these changes include: the addition of nonfiction books to support the Common Core curriculum; bilingual books to meet the needs of the school’s Hispanic population; books geared toward what young boys; and more award-winning titles.

The grant cannot be used for shelving, furniture, equipment (such as eBook readers or Kindles), staffing, software, videos, guides, tests, exams, classroom book sets or similar items. A press release provided by the foundation emphasized the organization’s commitment to the book and print collections of American school libraries.

Cornett believes a role of the PTO is to serve the teachers of the school, just as the teachers serve the children in their education.

Added Cornett, “I am pretty proactive. I know there are opportunities out there and oftentimes the teachers are just too busy to look for it.” 

She expressed an interest in continuing to look for grants and other opportunities for the school.

“This was a collaborative effort by our media specialist, the PTO president and an Arnold Parent,” Chai said. “As a school, we couldn’t wish for more than having the faculty, PTO and parents working together for a common goal.”