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LIBRARY REFURBISHMENTS:
WASHINGTON ELEMENTARY - JANUARY 2022

LIBRARY REFURBISHMENTS:
WASHINGTON ELEMENTARY - JANUARY 2022

The principal of Washington Elementary was eager to be selected for an Access Books Bay Area grant. Her leadership team had already identified improving the school library as a vital way to engage her students authentically in pleasure reading, and were committed to transforming the library, but they were restricted in what they could spend on it due to Title I funding restrictions.


The families of this school, like all that we serve, have limited earnings of our families which do not provide them access to do not provide them access to enrichment programs for their children, or reading materials beyond the school offerings. The school is located in an area of San Jose with high gang activity. 


When we first visited we found an extremely crowded space with water damaged books from a flood a few years earlier that had never been remediated. Working under our direction, the school staff conducted a year-long effort to weed the collection and reorganize the space. Access Books Bay Area purchased 1400 brand-new books for the library, but with pandemic restrictions still in place for that particular school, we had to do all the processing outside in cold weather with small groups of volunteers. Our volunteers persevered so that we could deliver the books in time for Washington Elementary students to start their year off with a selection of high quality, relevant and diverse reading materials. They now have a very popular new graphic novel section which our large donation of graphic novels helped establish, as well as a new biographies section established with the large selection of biographies of current and culturally relevant people we provided. In line with the leadership team’s vision, we transformed the library into a space where all of the students feel invited and eager to dive into a book.

“We are so impressed with Access Books Bay Area! Not only did they help us weed out very outdated books from our library collection, they donated thousands of books in both English and Spanish to support our bilingual program. Access Books helped us transform our library experience, but most importantly, they helped us promote “Love of Reading” by providing our students with titles students identified as preferred reading options. In addition, Access Books installed and provides books on an on-going basis for a beautiful book box in front of our school. This project gives our students and community easy access to reading material after-school and weekends. Just want to stress that all of this work happened under very difficult Covid restrictions.”

-Maricela Alcala Franco, School Principal, Washington Elementary School, San Jose

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