The Good News Project : Building of a Library

By: Jonalee Merkel Email
By: Jonalee Merkel Email

Chances are you can walk into any local school and find a library.

But believe it or not, for some kids in the world, libraries are a relatively new concept.

Thanks to Wausau's Good News Project, hundreds of children in the West Indies now have a library of their own.

A few years ago Patti McInerney moved from Detroit, Michigan to Castle Bruce, Dominica.

An avid reader, one of the first things she set out to find was a library.

"The library used to be at the village council building. It's a small place in the village and I guess it needed more room to expand so they brought the library here to this extra classroom," says Patti.

But what Patti found at the Castle Bruce Primary School was disappointing.

She says, "What I found here was not a library. It was just a storage room for books. It wasn't a used library."

Once locals introduced Patti to Good News volunteers, it was only a matter of time.

"With the help of the Good News people, donated the paint and the wood and my husband building the shelves and the children helping to paint and organize the books, we're getting there," says Patti.

Since Good News came in and helped organize things a bit and brighten things up, the kids, who never knew what a library was before, now know what it is and are finding they like it.\

"When I first opened the library, just a handful of kids would come, but now," she says, "We get about 30-50 children weekly."

"I come to the library to read special book and interesting books," says 4th grader Jaiic, "I more like books that are interesting."

Brett, a 4th grader, says, "I like... it help you in your school work," and "It will help you when you get grown up."

"I love to see the children read. If they read, they'll be good students," says Patti, "If you don't read, you don't learn. It all comes down to that."

As far as Patti's concerned, getting kids interested in ready is a pretty good start.

Now, she's working to collect more books for younger children, including some familiar names kids are always asking for including 'Dora' and 'Spongebob.'

The teachers at Castle Bruce Primary School are also trying to get the children more interested in reading through a new literacy program, and of course, Good News is helping out with that too.

The program rewards children who show the most improvement reading and also read the most books.

This year the Wausau Kiwanis Club paid for the prizes Good News gave the students.

The kids who finished in second place received flash drives, and the fist place finishers, Mp3 players.

They were items the teachers told Good News the students could use.

Now, if you're interested in helping the library expand its collection, they currently have about 1,000 books.

You can drop off gently used or new books at the Good News Warehouse.

The organization accepts donations year round.

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