FREDERICKTOWN — The Fredericktown school community has once again pulled together to accomplish an amazing feat; this one will benefit everyone who frequents the Fredericktown Community Library. Spearheaded by students in Teresa Vilfer-Snyder’s fourth-grade class, the school district family donated more than 6,300 books and videos to support the public library.
Ashlyn Shrimplin, grade four, explained. “The library needed new books, so we decided to collect and sell books, and like have a garage sale. We’re going to be selling bookmarks we made, too.”
“We collected over 6,300 books and items and stuff,” said her classmate Brittney Ehret. “They came from the whole school district, and the preschool.”
Dawn Toombs’ class collected the most books — 825 — and won a pizza party for its efforts.
On Tuesday, the book “club” held a garage sale in Vilfer-Snyder’s classroom, and many teachers took advantage of the opportunity to replenish or add to the bookshelves in their classrooms. That sale netted about $420 for the Fredericktown public library fund. Ashley said the leftover books were donated to the library.
Assistant branch manager Lisa Smith said the library was thrilled to get so many books. “For a class to pull together like that, especially at a time when we really need it — we’re tickled. I was just dumbfounded. Some of them are brand-new looking.”
Smith said she is in the process of sorting through the books and checking for duplicates of ones already on the shelves. “If these new ones are in better shape, we’ll put these on the shelf instead,” she said. “The ones that are a little worn will go into our book sale and we’ll raise more money to buy more books that way.”
The students put a lot of effort into getting ready for the book drive and sale, and were divided into groups to share the work. One group wrote and made the announcements, another designed and made posters and newspaper staff wrote a newsletter that went out to the entire student body. Vilfer-Snyder said the newspaper crew also met with principal Emily Funston for editorial approval.
Once books began arriving, Vilfer-Snyder said, her students went from classroom to classroom collecting the donations. After counting the books, the students got a lot of practicing sorting things by category: Chapter books and adult books. Popular children’s books were sorted according to the author, such as Dr. Suess, or by character, such as Clifford the Big Red Dog.
Before Tuesday’s giant garage sale, Vilfer-Snyder’s students completed a math unit on money and making change, then put that knowledge to good use during the sale. They also discussed customer service techniques such as the importance of greeting customers, assisting them in finding certain books and answering any questions they might have.
Some of the fourth-graders, Jackson Miller for one, served as personal shoppers for teachers browsing through the books, giving suggestions and carrying the selections to the checkout table. There the students used paper and pencil to determine the total amount of each sale. A calculator was used for larger amounts.
The bookmarks, 25 cents each, will be on sale through December at the school and in the public library. Vilfer-Snyder said the children came up with the idea of putting a piece of candy on each bookmark and developed slogans like “Read a sugary adventure” and “Reading is sweet.”
A Learn and Serve grant awarded to Vilfer-Snyder is paying for the cost of materials and the pizza party. “The part that I’m most excited about is the grant is also allowing each child to be able to get online at Barnes and Nobels.com and search for new books that are out,” she said. “Each child [of the 26 in Vilfer-Snyder’s class] can pick a book that they would like to have. We’ll find out the books the library doesn’t have already, or maybe ones that are popular and for which there’s a waiting list. The grant will then buy that book for the child, and the child will present that brand new book to the library at the celebration party. The library is going to put a name plate in each book saying, ‘Donated by ...”