A librarian at Westmont and Springfield elementary schools was one of 64 Nebraska teachers to receive a grant from U.S. Cellular for a classroom project.
U.S. Cellular partnered with Donors Choose, and teachers with existing Donors Choose projects could apply for the U.S. Cellular grants. Hudson received $337.59 for a “Reading Our Way into 2014” initiative at Westmont Elementary.
Shari Hudson, the grant recipient, said she was able to use that money to get magazine racks for the library.
“We’re doing our library renovations in stages, and the first stage is the little things to get us started,” she said.
Hudson plans to do other things to “rearrange and revamp” the library, including adding new options for seating.
“We’re going to put in space for comfy seating to make it a more fun environment for learning,” she said. “With the classroom chairs and tables right now, it definitely has a classroom feel.”
The library will also be getting new shelves, thanks to the school’s PTO.
“The bookshelves are as old as the building, and it was built in the late 1970s,” Hudson said. “The shelves are falling apart; the plywood is bending. They aren’t aesthetically pleasing.”
The shelves aren’t safe, either. “We also had a kindergartener run into the pointed edge of one of these and have to get stitches,” Hudson said.
New bookshelves have been ordered, but they will cost a total of $6500.
“We’re reaching out to a lot of organizations and venues for assistance,” she said. “It’s amazing how much bookshelves cost.”
Although Hudson works for both elementary schools, the shelves at Springfield are not as old, she said.
Once Hudson has finished sending thank-you notes for the magazine rack project, she can use her Donors Choose account to begin seeking funds for the next round of improvements, including a potential new non-fiction section. Donors Choose allows public school teachers to post classroom projects that need help with funding.
Teachers can build up the ability to ask for larger projects or special requests by confirming funded projects and sending thank-you packages to donors.
Hudson’s Donors Choose account can be found at donorschoose.org/sharihudson.