A group of women in Fort Worth needs help in an effort to bring something good to a school that lost its library.
"Remember what the library is to a school. It's the heartbeat of a school," said Amber Robertson, president of Junior League Fort Worth, as she described the impact of a fire at Maudrie M. Walton Elementary School in the Fort Worth ISD.
The library was set on fire during a burglary at the school back in September. Flames, smoke and water destroyed the library and every book in it. Soon after, the kids who'd been learning virtually returned to classrooms and found the library gone.
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Members of the Junior League who volunteer at the school through the Junior M.I.N.T.S (Mentor, Inspire, Nurture, Tutor, and Support) program learned it would take time for the district to replace all the books. So, the ladies jumped into action.
"We felt like it couldn't wait. We wanted to hurry up as get as many books in these kids hands as we can," Robertson said.
The nonprofit has launched a virtual book drive called Clear the List to Fill the Shelves. A wish list on Amazon shows a variety of books for students on the pre-kindergarten through fifth-grade campus. The goal is to clear the list of titles from the wish list to fill the shelves of the temporary library.
"There are over 600 titles on the wish list," Robertson said. "We just want every kid in that school to be able to have a selection of books."
Robertson says 200 books donated, so far, are on carts the librarian rolls to classrooms but it's not nearly enough for every child.
It's tough enough navigating learning in the midst of a pandemic and the Junior League believes making books easily accessible will help give the kids a sense of normalcy.
"Getting books into elementary kids' hands is the key to creating a lifelong desire for learning. It opens the doors to worlds they didn't know about. It is so, so important. Literacy is huge, and we just hope everybody will participate and get books into these kids' hands," Robertson said.
"In doing so, the community will be providing students with the opportunity to enhance literacy, build imagination, learn new facts, and enjoy reading for pleasure," the nonprofit said in a news release.
The Maudrie M. Walton Elementary Book Drive is happening on Amazon with all books purchased sent directly to the school. If you have any questions or would like more information, please email mints.Mwalton@juniorleaguefw.org.