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Taylor secures Laura Bush Foundation Grant for AES

Lori Buchanan

3 AES laura bush2Thanks to Connie Taylor,  the Atkinson Elementary School (AES) library was recently awarded $5,000 to spend on a selection of literature that includes books, e-books and magazines.

Taylor recently applied for The Laura Bush Foundation for America’s Libraries Awards and was recently notified that the school library was one of 212 school libraries across the nation to receive the grant. AES was one of 16 in Georgia to receive the grant and the only southeast Georgia school. Most of the awards were presented to schools in the Atlanta area with Moultrie being the only other south Georgia school to receive $5,000.

Taylor, the media specialist for the school applied for the grant online.

“I applied hoping to get the grant to get resources. It’s all about putting books in the kids hands,” she said.

This attitude exemplifies the school’s motto “Successfully Educating All Students- SEAS.”

“I was tickled. I was so excited about the grant because it doesn’t limit what we can purchase as long as its books and magazines” the media specialist said.

Her enthusiasm for books and getting the students enthused drove her to look at options to stretch the budget by finding resources that the students need and want.

“I went to Jacksonville and got books that look brand new at half price. This grant enabled me to get books the kids had been asking for. They like the series books and this enabled me to buy a series of books like they like. Sometimes we may have had one book in a series,” she said.

AES and Taylor have been successful in getting the students enthused about reading with a bit of creativity. The school recently had about 100 parents at open house before the start of the new school year visit the library with parents signing for their students to receive books donated to the school for that purpose.

“Everybody gets to take home a book even little brothers and sisters. This get kids to take home books and put the books in hands that need and enjoy them,” Taylor said.

The school also offers an after school book club every Thursday where the students enjoy books, science experiments, art projects and more to get the students thinking. This summer the school offered a Tuesday Summer Reading Program in conjunction with the nutrition program where about 20 students participated. And this week a book fair is slated to kick-off curriculum night.

“It’s all about getting the kids enthused,” Taylor said.

And what the school wants is for the students to read more and more and the Laura Bush Foundation Library award allows schools like AES to expand, update and diversify their book collections.

The Laura Bush Foundation for America’s Libraries was founded in 2002 as a fund of The Community Foundation for the National Capital Region. Since its inception,  more than$10.5 million has been awarded to schools in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Marshall Islands, the Northern Mariana Islands and the Virgin Islands. In addition more than $6.3 million has been awarded to the Gulf Coast to rebuild library book collections that were lost by hurricanes or storms.

The mission of the foundation is to provide funds to libraries by supporting education.

The Laura Bush Foundation’s mission and AES are on the same page.






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