Lincoln library updates inventory

Nick Stroman
Lincoln Grade School's library recently underwent an inventory makeover, replacing old books with newer ones.

When students returned to Lincoln Grade School this fall, they may have noticed the library shelves looked a little more empty.

Thanks to an effort spearheaded by learning center teacher Laura Allaman and dozens of volunteers, more than 7,000 books have been weeded out since May.

More than $22,000 worth of new books have taken the place of the old and tattered reading materials.

Allaman decided to take on the library project in the fall of 2008 — her first semester on the job at Lincoln — after she overheard comments from parents and teachers about the poor condition of the library’s books.

During her research, Allaman found the average age of torn books at Lincoln was 1974.

Of the more than 13,000 books the library had, many dated back 30 to 50 years, and 75 percent needed evaluated or replaced.

Allaman said the support she has received for the library’s makeover has been overwhelming.

“We are starting the second year of our three-year project, and I think it’s going very well. The average age of our books is now 1992, and that’s a significant improvement,” Allaman said.

“We’re still shooting for 1995,” she added.

With the addition of 1,000 new books this year, the library now has 7,414 books in its collection.

Allaman cited the student reading incentive program “Reach for the Stars” as one of the library’s most successful fundraising efforts.

The program encourages students to read 30 minutes per day for two weeks and collect matching donation pledges for their accomplishments.

Students then receive 50 percent of what they raise as credit toward purchasing titles from Usborne Books company.

The library receives the other 50 percent to purchase the books.

Allaman said Lincoln as a K-4 school raised $12,500, which is double the amount of other neighboring K-8 schools in the program.

There are plans to repeat the program in two weeks.

“We want to make it an ongoing fundraiser because it has really helped. It also gives the kids ownership of what’s here in the library. They raised the money to put the new books on the shelves,” Allaman said.

Three days out of the week, Allaman said the library also has volunteers come in to help students find what they want to read in their newly restructured library.

The card catalog has been removed, and book labels help the newly purchased titles stand out.

Allaman said the rearranging has helped with functionality.

“I think everything is more user-friendly and aesthetically pleasing. People still ask about donating their old books, but it has to meet our curriculum needs and our focus,” Allaman said.

Three weeks after Allaman applied for a Dollar General back-to-school grant, she found out Lincoln was awarded $5,000.

“We haven’t spent all of that yet, but it doesn’t go as far as you might think. Our easy reading section purchase cost us $4,000. Non-fiction books is next, and those can run about $20 each,” Allaman said.

She added that another family has come forward to donate its own collection of history and war books, worth $1,200.

The goal of the project is to purchase new books for a different section each year.

“The influx of donations and funding is a big deal for us. We’re halfway there I think,” Allaman said.

Allaman added the next steps for the project include continued weeding out of books, raising money and adding new resources to the library.

“Our superintendent, Dr. Tignor, said he is not satisfied with the minimum standard, and he would rather us be somewhere in the middle. Our support has been great, and I’ve appreciated that,” Allaman said.

“I don’t intend to stop,” Allaman added.

To make a donation to the library or volunteer to help with the project, contact Allaman at Lincoln Grade School at 444-2326.