School library gets help stocking shelves

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East End Middle School library in Hensley on Jan. 29, 2020.

More Book-A-Thon

HENSLEY, Ark. — The shelves at East End Middle School’s new library has been bare bones since the district moved into a new building 6 months ago, but there are some new additions thanks to volunteers.

Most shelves in the library are empty, something the school calls temporary and a growing pain that comes with updating reading material, teachers growing classroom libraries, and students turning to e-readers.

“We’ve got this big library and there’s only about 3 shelves full of books,” said Norma VanBrunt. “I thought why is there only 3 shelves full of books?”

VanBrunt is an East End graduate herself, but says this isn’t the lesson she wants to teach current students, including her granddaughter.

“They sometimes don’t have books at home, so let’s get them the books from here,” she said. “I decided that I would donate some of the ones that I keep at my house.”

VanBrunt dropped off some books and word of her good deed spread quickly.

“I’ve had 68, 69 people text me back and say, ‘We’ve got books, where do we drop them?” VanBrunt added.

For the school it’s a bonus they weren’t expecting.

“We welcome and appreciate every single donation, but the district is really supporting us to get even more,” said East End Middle School Principal Lupe Peña de Martínez.

Peña de Martínez says when the school moved into the new building they decided to rework the library, which included buying new books that students would want to check out.

“The last thing we want are shelves filled with books, but covered in dust,” she said.

Every classroom, including the library is equipped with tablets that are part of the school’s growing digital library. Peña de Martínez says they also have an upcoming book fair which will help raise funds for the library to order new books.

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Susanne’s Mission

Susanne Brunner is the Morning Anchor on KARK 4 TODAY and also shares weekly education reports. Some have highlighted positive stories about the importance of reading at an early age and ensuring more children have a book of their own. Susanne’s goal is to write stories that teach kids valuable life lessons. She also hopes her published book “Busker the Tusker” helps build a special bond between children and their parents. Growing up, Susanne’s mom told her a special bedtime story that she remembers and holds dear to this day. That memory encouraged Susanne to create a tale of her own to tell, which is how “Busker the Tusker” came to life. Click here to learn more about the book 

 Susanne Brunner’s Book-A-Thon: 10 Books. 10 Weeks., is a reading initiative she launched in September 2019 to encourage more children to pick up a book to read. Susanne and Busker are visiting schools across Arkansas to read his story and to inspire kids to take the pledge to read 10 books in 10 weeks. You can download and print the pledge on this site. Once kids finish their reading adventure, Susanne and Busker will give them a certificate of completion. Her goal is to reach as many kids as possible, teach them the importance of reading, and help make a difference in Arkansas’ reading deficit. What are you waiting for? Join Susanne’s reading adventure!

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Arkansas’ Reading Deficit

  • Only 31% of Arkansas’ 4th-grade students are proficient in reading (National Assessment of Educational Progress, 2015).
  • Arkansas ranks in the lower third in reading scores in comparison to other states (National Assessment of Educational Progress, 2015).
  • One-third of Arkansas schools report average literacy scores lower than 25 percent (Department of Education in Arkansas, 2015).
  • Only 39% of Arkansas’ graduating seniors met reading readiness benchmarks on the ACT (2015).

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