Access Books Bay Area Fall 2018 Newsletter

Welcome to the 2018/19 School Year

Welcome to a new school year and a new year of Access Books Bay Area projects!  Last school year we completed two library refurbishment projects: Willow Oaks Elementary School in the Ravenswood School District (highlighted in the Fall 2017 Newsletter) and Dorsa Elementary School in the Alum Rock School District in San Jose. This year we aim to complete three library refurbishment projects, and for two of the three we have already secured funding thanks to our generous donors! We still need a little more funding to be able to expand to that third project, so please consider making a donation if you haven’t already done so.
Speaking of donations, we just had our 2018 Fall Benefit on September 22 at the offices of Sherman and Sterling, LLP.  It was a festive and educational afternoon with inspirational speeches by Viviana Garcia, Principal of Dorsa Elementary in San Jose, children’s author and artist Nadia Reddy, and our Director Amanda Collins, as well as a fun performance by the Someday Sweethearts Dancers. Delicious food was generously donated by Asian Box. Thank you so much to all our supporters who attended the event as well as those who were not able to attend but sent generous donations. Thank you Shearman and Sterling, Asian Box and Armanino for sponsoring this event!
We couldn’t do our job of renovating school libraries in low-income Bay Area neighborhoods without these wonderful partnerships! Thank you to all supporters!
Pictures from our fundraiser, clockwise from top: our Board of Directors, catering by Asian Box, Alison Guan and guests, fundraiser guests listening to a speaker, and Viviana Garcia.

Library Refurbishment Projects

Our Recent Project:

In May 2018 we refurbished the Dorsa Elementary School library in San Jose. With the help of over 40 volunteers we successfully transformed the library, which was previously underutilized and crowded with dated materials, into a warm and welcoming environment with fresh new books and cozy places for kids to read. Dorsa’s Principal, Viviana Garcia, commented “I appreciate Access Books staffs’ intentionality in selecting current books, as well as books that are culturally relevant to Dorsa students.”We are very proud of this project and can’t wait to do our next one!
Above: The bright soft furniture makes the Dorsa library inviting for children to sit and read. Below from top right and then clockwise: Shelves show the front of books and not just book spines to make it easier for children to choose books that look interesting to them; Volunteers painting murals; volunteers sorting books; completed library at Dorsa.


Our first project of the 2018/19 school year is at Ravenswood Middle School in East Palo Alto. Ravenswood Middle School opened up in the 2017/18 school year with a 6th grade only, this year it has 6th and 7th grades and next year it will be fully populated with 6-8th graders. Previously the district didn’t have a stand-alone middle school and instead had several schools with grades K-8, but now as a stand alone middle school with a brand new library and no dedicated library funding they really need our help to stock the shelves with new high-interest pleasure reading books (they were given a mostly outdated amalgamation of several closed schools’ collections), to paint the walls with colorful murals, and to purchase comfortable furniture to make this institutional-looking space feel like a warm and welcoming place to read, gather and relax.

Our second project for the year is slated for January 26, 2019 at Ben Painter Elementary School in San Jose. Stay tuned for more details and sign-ups this winter. The third project is pending, but with more funding will be in the Spring of 2019.

Ravenswood Middle School Library. A lot of work to be done here!
How can you help?
  • Sign-up to volunteer on the November 1st Painting Preparation Day. We need volunteers from 9:00am – 12:00pm (or any portion thereof) to help cover the shelves and floors with plastic, clean the walls, and paint a base coat on the walls to prepare for the November 3 mural painting.
  • Sign-up to volunteer on November 3rd for the refurbishment project. We need volunteers from 9:00am until approximately 2:00pm to sort, stamp and place bar codes on books and paint murals (all abilities are welcome) on the library walls. We also may have some light furniture assembly needs. Lunch is provided for volunteers! It is a terrific opportunity to be part of a group project that brings together families from the target school along with families from surrounding areas to work together to achieve a common goal.
  • Donations: In order to make our future service projects a reality, we need donations to purchase brand new high quality/high interest hardcover books, furniture, paint and supplies. It takes on average $17,000 to complete a library renovation.
  • Partner Organizations: We are always looking for new organizations to partner with. Would your organization like to organize a book drive to collect at least 2000 gently-used pleasure reading books for children in grades K-8? This is a great project for scouts, middle schools, high school students working on their community service projects and other community service organizations. Click here for more information on starting a book drive. Partner organizations typically volunteer on the day of the service project that they collected books for as well.
  • Are You Next?  We are taking applications for Bay Area elementary and middle schools that serve primarily low-income students and have a demonstrated need for a refurbished library.Contact us to apply, or email Amanda Collins, Director of Access Books Bay Area.

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