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CMS library raising funds through book fair, magazine sales

Sixth-graders Emma Samuelson and Carmen Christopher browse selections at the Scholastic book fair Tuesday at the Craig Middle School library. The book fair, which began Oct. 21 and ends Thursday, is a fundraiser for the library.
Ben McCanna

Librarian Jan Prestidge said the Craig Middle School library is a busy place.

“This is a very heavily used library,” Prestidge said. “I don’t think people realize how much their kids are reading. They really are reading a lot.”

Since Oct. 21, the CMS library has been even busier. It has been the site of an ongoing Scholastic book fair and magazine sale, which continues until Thursday. The book and magazine sales are meant to raise money for the library.



As of Tuesday, Prestidge said the library had sold approximately $1,000 in magazines and $1,500 in books.

“Our funds were cut, so this is how I’m buying books for the library,” Prestidge said.

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Prestidge, who has been school librarian since the fall of 2009, said new books are needed at the CMS library for several reasons.

First, many of the books are in poor condition.

“These books are worn out, just worn out,” Prestidge said. “In the past, a lot of paperbacks were bought, and they’re just shot. And I can’t just throw them out.

“The pages fall out, the covers are coming off, they’re just a mess. We fix them as long as we can, but they reach a point where that’s it. We can only do so much for a paperback.”

Second, few of the books are age appropriate.

“We have a lot of low-level books in here, and not a lot for the higher-end readers,” Prestidge said.

“Most of the books are fourth-grade level and up to fifth grade and sixth-grade level. I don’t have very many seventh or eighth, and we should go all the way to 12th, at least. There’s a few, but not as many as there should be.”

Third, students simply like new books.

“Kids like books that look nice,” Prestidge said. “They like to read new books.”

As an example, Prestidge said that three weeks ago, she bought 70 new books.

As of Tuesday, all but 13 of the 70 new books were checked out.

Prestidge said she isn’t certain of how much traffic the library sees.

“I haven’t kept those kinds of statistics,” Prestidge said. “But, it’s probably 1,500 (students) per month.

“And at any one time, half the books are checked out.”

CMS sixth-graders Emma Samuelson and Carmen Christopher browsed the selections at the book fair Tuesday. They were both buying a copy of “Kiss Me Tomorrow” by Susan Shreve.

Both said they were aware the book fair was raising money for the library and there was a need for new books.

Samuelson said the library is indeed a busy place.

“Lots of sixth-graders like to read, and I like to read,” Samuelson said.

Sixth-grader Alissa Flannery said she also spends a lot of time in the library.

“Whenever I can, pretty much,” Flannery said.

Flannery said she wasn’t sure if the library’s books are too childish for middle school students.

“Some might be, some are just perfect,” Flannery said.

Sixth-grader Erica Davidson, who checks out two to four library books every month, said she has a preference to how the fundraising dollars are spent.

“I would like to see mystery books and baking books,” Davidson said.

Prestidge said there are some CMS students who don’t like to read, but they are “few and far between.”

Prestidge tries to encourage reading in those students.

“All it takes is one book, one good book to make a reader out of a kid,” she said. “But, they have to find that one book, and you have to help them.”


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