Rowland Unified School District

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La Seda School Gets New Wonder of Reading Library

La Puente school gets new Wonders of Reading library

By Daniel Fritz, Staff Writer (Highlander)

Article Launched: 04/10/2008 04:10:55 PM PDT

Students at La Seda Elementary School are actually excited about reading.

But one has to wonder if the school's brand new library has been a factor in their enthusiasm.

On Friday, March 21, the La Puente school celebrated its new $110,000 library with a grand opening.

And it was a much-needed improvement.

The old library was so small that it couldn't fit an entire 35-student class. The minimal shelving made it impossible to expand the 11,200-book selection, and no computers were anywhere to be seen.

So, in fall 2005, the school applied for The Wonder of Reading, a nonprofit organization dedicated to inspiring the love of reading in children. In February 2006, they were granted $35,000 to put toward a new library.

One of the conditions set forth by the grant was that the school had to match the $35,000 - arriving at $70,000 toward a new library.

But La Seda Principal Gay-Lynn Carnello knew that wouldn't be enough.

So, after a year of intense fundraising, the school came up with $50,000. And they're not done yet. They continue to raise money to pay off the total cost. Their efforts have allowed what most would consider to be the ultimate elementary school library.

"This is a dream come true," Carnello said. "This library will be the hub of our school."

The library's theme is "Books Open Our World." In keeping with this theme, shelves lining the outer wall are dedicated to each of the seven continents. Decorations, figurines, stuffed animals and pictures representing that particular part of the world are displayed with the intention of drawing the child to the books visually.

"We wanted to open the kids' world and tell them that you can go anywhere and do anything through reading," Carnello said. "When you come in this library I wanted it to be exciting. We just want to engage kids in an interesting and appealing way."

One of the most popular features is an electric fireplace and mantel that gives the room the ultimate cozy element.

"One boy said, `I just want to take my blanket and fall asleep in front of the fireplace,"' said Cindy Garcia, a guidance assistant at La Seda. "It's so fun to see their expressions. They get so excited about things in here."

A miniature amphitheater, called "story steps," offers the perfect space for storytelling.

Seven computers, something Carnello and the library committee heavily pushed for, are now available for children to do research and browse the ever-expanding library catalog.

"I was really excited to get the new books that we have, and the kids can't wait to come in and get their hands on them," said Christine Quinones-Debis, librarian.

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