By GreatSchools Staff
Pam is the mom of two children. Her son, Ethan, was in fourth grade at East Gloucester Elementary School in Gloucester, Massachusetts, when she got involved with the library. Pam is active in the Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) at the elementary school and formerly worked as an executive administrator for the CEO of a software company.
Four years ago East Gloucester Elementary School had a well-used library with a full-time library aide. The Gloucester School District,
however, faced severe budget cuts over the past several years, and had to make many cuts to programs and staff. The school lost its library aide and the library began a downhill slide. East Gloucester was lucky to have a retired man who volunteered in the library and kept it functioning so students could check out books, but many things didn't get done. Keeping everything in order was too much for a part-time volunteer. The library got very dirty and became a dumping ground for things teachers no longer needed in their classrooms. The book collection was outdated, and the card system was old and hard to manage.
The East Gloucester PTO held its meetings in the library, which was in the center of the small school, and members often commented on how run-down and dirty it was getting. When the PTO raised several thousand dollars from a successful holiday fair fundraiser, Pam, who was co-president of the PTO, suggested that they spend the money on library improvements. The PTO agreed that the library was a priority and they got started. Pam's co-president, Juliana Hood, took over most of the PTO duties so Pam could focus on the library.
Pam and the other parents who helped took on two main projects: a physical rehab of the library and installing a bar-code system for keeping track of books. The physical rehab took the whole summer. Pam wanted to make the library look inviting and fun, but they did not have a huge budget. Pam herself painted the library, ordered carpeting for a rug area, moved the picture books to lower shelves so they would be accessible to kids, and ordered a new, space-saving table for the computer. She spray-painted the desk and file cabinet bright blue to liven up the room.
Teachers voted on their favorite quotes about reading and the winning quote was painted on the wall. It said, "Books are like a garden carried in your pocket." Two students from the National Honor Society painted a garden on the wall.
Four or five other parents and a local retired librarian spent the summer going through the book collection. They weeded out very outdated books and then donated them to Hands Across the Water to be sent to villages in Africa. They ordered new copies of worn-out favorites and ordered some new books. Old books were cleaned, mended and covered.
Pam also researched bar-code systems to automate the library. Many cost $20,000 or more, which was far beyond the PTO budget. Eventually they found the CASPR library system, which was far less expensive and had a modest yearly fee for storing files. Getting all the books bar coded was a big project, but with help from several parents, it is finally now complete. All of the physical upgrades, the new books and the bar-code system were completed for between $7,000 and $8,000 total.
Sign up for our free newsletter and we'll send you
more just like it every week.
Thank you! You will begin to receive newsletters from us shortly.
Great work! Only one more step. Now we just need you to verify your email address. Please click on the link in the email we just sent you to complete your registration.
Great work! Only one more step. Now we just need you to verify your email address. Please click on the link in the email we just sent you to submit your review.
Please click on the link in the verification email we just sent you to complete your change of email address.
Whoops! It looks like we still need to verify your email. To do so, please click on the link in the email we sent you. Can't find the e-mail? Click the button below and we'll send you a new one.
Thanks for registering. Welcome to GreatSchools, the largest online community committed to improving educational outcomes through parental involvement.
Thanks for verifying your updated email address.
Oops! You haven't verified your email address yet. To do so, please click on the link in the email we sent you. Can't find the email? Click the button below to receive a new one.
Oops! That email verification link has expired. Please click the button below to receive a new one.
Create an account to submit your answers.
Sign in with an existing GreatSchools account or using Facebook:
Your review has been posted to GreatSchools.
Share with friends! Post your opinion of on Facebook.
Welcome to GreatSchools!
For principals and school officials, we offer a special Enhanced School Profile (ESP) which allows you to update and add information about your school, as well as respond to reviews. If you are a school official, click Continue to start.
Please note that it can take up to 48 hours for your comment to be posted to our site. While you're here, we'd like to invite you to fill out a survey on your school's programs, activities, and extracurriculars. It only takes a few minutes and will help parents get a full picture of your school.
Get started now! You have successfully registered and can now start updating your Official School Profile. The information you provide is extremely valuable in helping parents and students learn more about your school, so thanks for taking the time!
Thank you for registering as a school leader. We just need to verify your email address. We've sent you an email - please click on the link in that message to get started editing your school's information!
Thanks! We just sent you an email – please click on the link in the email to post your answers.
Get timely updates for , including performance data and recently posted user reviews.