“I’m in shock!” Warren said. “It’s beyond description. You have no idea what this means to me. I’ve already got it spent!”
While Warren was out on a break, PTO President Liza Qaddourah, Vice President Kaye Cottano, NMS Principal Debby Brian and school Secretary Cindie Coghlan sneaked into the library to present the donation.
“The most important thing to me is to put that book in that kid’s hand that they want to read, and this is what helps me do it,” Warren said of the donation. “The money we get from the state, it’s just not enough. When you’ve got 1,200 kids and a new book comes out and it’s like book three in a series and we get one copy, it’s ludicrous, and you end up disappointing so many kids.”
The money donated was raised through various PTO fundraising events and programs such as smoothie and snack sales, free dress day and school dances.
Qaddourah said the PTO is always looking for ways to put its money back into the school in order to benefit students, and the library is often overlooked. In the past the school’s extremely active PTO has donated money to purchase things like bike racks, outdoor benches, a new computer and laminating machines.
Planning for the donation started about a month ago after a conversation between Coghlan and Qaddourah. The school secretary told Qaddourah that students are always going to Warren to ask for new books and that she often pays for them out of her own pocket.
Warren began working at Northwestern Middle as a teacher in 1992 and has been the librarian since 2001. She said one of her favorite things to do is to deliver a book to a student in class who has been on a lengthy waiting list.
“I did it the other day. The little boy got up and walked to the door like he was so important because I had a book for him,” said Warren. “I thought, you know, this is what it’s all about. There’s nothing like watching that smile on their faces.”
Warren said the state budget makes it difficult to buy newly released books and to have enough copies of the most popular ones. She said the school’s books are normally purchased through a state budget given to all public school libraries and is based on the number of students enrolled each year. Because of this, the budget often fluctuates, and new books cannot be purchased until after the school’s final enrollment number is calculated in October.
In an additional effort to address this problem, Qaddourah has asked that parents consider donating popular books their children have finished reading.
“There’s a lot of parents who buy [books] for their kids, and they don’t necessarily keep them,” said Qaddourah. “Once they read them they’re done with them, and most of the time they end up at the public library.”
Warren said some of the most popular books the library needs more copies of are those in the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, the Twilight series, the Harry Potter series, the Ranger’s Apprentice series and The Last Apprentice series.