Thanks to community donations — plus a boost from the Edmonds Rotary Noon Club — students at Edmonds’ Scriber Lake High School now have an updated collection of both fiction and non-fiction books — and Scriber Lake Principal Andrea Hillman says it’s clear that they are enjoying it.
“One hundred percent of the books that have come in have been checked out — 60 percent of them in the first week,” Hillman said Tuesday prior to an open house recognizing Scriber Lake Library supporters. “Our kids read and it is so great.”
Tuesday’s open house was a time to recognize the efforts of all involved in the library project, which began when Kim Gorney of Washington Kids in Transition, which provides after-school snacks for homeless students in the Edmonds School District, happened to attend a meeting in the Scriber library — and was distressed by what she saw.
“It didn’t seem like an inspiring place,” Gorney recalled of the library space, which serves 250 students at the Edmonds School District’s alternative high school and has one of the highest rates of homeless students in the district. “The chairs were all ripped up, the books were old.” She and school librarian Leighann Law began talking about what could be done and the rest, as they say, is history.
Speaking before open house attendees Tuesday, Law explained that Gorney used money raised through Washington Kids in Transition to buy cozy new reading chairs, display tables and colorful rugs. Next, Gorney said, “‘Let’s fill it with books. What do you need?’ So I filled out this wish list of books students had been clamoring for — diverse books showing socioeconomic situations most people are in, diverse faces and experiences,” Law recalled.
Of the 485 books on Law’s wish list, 276 have been purchased, both through an online campaign soliciting community donations and also through the Edmonds Rotary Noon Club, which bought $600 worth of books in an effort coordinated by club member Elise Hegrat. “I’m so grateful and our students are so grateful,” Law said. “We could not have done this without you.”
Also recognized Thursday for their efforts were members of the Scriber Lake High School parent group, who had a surprise of their own. They invited Grammy Award-winning musician Michael Wansley, who lives in nearby Shoreline, to stop by the open house.
“That’s one of the reasons I’m here,” said Wansley, who drew worldwide fame for singing the chorus of “Thrift Shop” for Seattle-based rap superstar Mackelmore. “Anything that has to do with educating kids.” School officials said they hope that the 54-year-old Wansley, who is a software test engineer in addition to being a musician, will come back another time to speak to the Scriber student body.
There are still 182 books left on the Scriber Lake librarian’s wish list, so continued donations are welcome. Visit www.Washingtonkidsintransition.org or follow the link to http://amzn.to/1PLys8W. You can also help by finding Washington Kids in Transition under Amazon SMILE before you go to your account to make a purchase, as a percentage of proceeds will be donated to the organization. Financial donations are also welcome and appreciated.
“We hope to continue to move forward to create this amazing library for our deserving children,” Law said.
— Story and photos by Teresa Wippel