By Rob Glidden
The American Legion Auxiliary is hoping to use its successful book donation program to augment the libraries at Kennedy and DePaolo Middle Schools.
Earlier this year, the Auxiliary used funds from the program to finance copies of “high-interest” books at Southington High School, which explored teen issues like bullying, gang violence and eating disorders.
“The middle schools are on deck next,” said Rachel Wache of the Auxiliary. “Whatever special needs they have for the library, they can put some paperwork together and let us know.”
The program works by inviting residents to drop off used books in large boxes which are sold to the Massachusetts-based Got Books, Inc. The Auxiliary has been using the funds raised by these sales to give back to the community. The original drop-off box for the books is located near the YMCA, but a large response from the town made it possible for another one to be added on the Southington Drive-In property.
“They have gone great work supporting the schools,” said Town Councilor Chris Palmieri, the assistant principal at DePaolo. “It would be great to supplement our collection with books that interest the kids, although that can change rapidly. We want to get them hooked on reading.”
Palmieri said that in general, middle school students favored pure fiction rather than books with strong real-life connections. However, teachers often assign the students to read fiction with a particular theme that is relevant to their lives, such as the theme of survival.
The program at the high school culminated in a program that invited the Auxiliary to listen to students share their gratitude. Most students who participated also wrote poems and short essays for the occasion, many of which Wache has saved in a scrapbook.
“It shows how much those books mean to those kids,” she said. “We’ve been able to do wonderful things with the book drop program. There’s no overhead cost to any of this, 100 percent of the money gets used.”