Kimball Elementary students are giving a portion of the money raised during their library fundraiser to Van Asselt Elementary students for their library.
To raise money for new books, a group of fifth-grade students at Seattle’s Kimball Elementary decided to hold a “read-a-thon,” where donors pledged money for every minute that a child read a book.
The Beacon Hill school set a goal of $3,000 for the April read-a-thon but ended up raising more than twice that amount. So it’s giving a portion of that money to the library at Van Asselt, another elementary school on Beacon Hill.
On Tuesday afternoon, the Kimball fifth-grade students will present a $1,000 check to their fellow Van Asselt students for the Van Asselt library.
The amount of money spent on materials in Seattle’s school libraries varies widely. No district funding is dedicated specifically to libraries, and decisions are left up to each school. That means some schools don’t allocate any money to their libraries, including Kimball. Librarian Carter Kemp said the $2,000 budget for this school year came entirely from the PTA.
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A survey done by a group of district librarians earlier this yearfound that one elementary school in Northwest Seattle raised $11,500 and received an additional $2,000 from the district, while other libraries received little or no money.
Though the Kimball library has 17,000 items in its collection, students seem most excited about new books, Kemp said. Money from the fundraiser will go toward adding to the collection.
The students ended up raising about $6,500. Kemp also received a $2,500 grant from the nonprofit Alliance for Education, and the PTA is giving him $500. In all, that’s nearly five times the library’s normal budget, and Kemp said that’s what got him thinking about donating a portion to another school.
Van Asselt seemed like a perfect fit. The two schools are within three miles of each other, and Van Asselt has a much higher percentage of low-income families.
The goal of the librarians’ survey was to encourage the district to fund its libraries through a central, equitable system. For now, though, Kemp and others are focused on the new books both Kimball and Van Asselt schools will be getting.
“Until I was a librarian, I had no idea how important new books were to kids,” Kemp said. “When I show them new books, it’s like they’re in a candy store.”