Franklin Elementary is a school in Southeast San Jose where over 83% of families are socioeconomically disadvantaged, and 13% of the students are unhoused. The library, like so many we work with, was neglected and in desperate need of new books, reorganization, and some TLC. The principal, Ms. Ravo, was thrilled to learn of Access Books Bay Area and the services we provide, especially considering that the school had suffered a 17% budget cut for this school year. She was very enthusiastic about having brand-new books that support their focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion and the potential to create a library that reflects not just their students, but their school’s values.
On Saturday October 1st, over 50 volunteers came together to process over 1500 new books for the library and paint four stunning colorful murals in the library. The energy and ideas of Principal Ravo inspired the participation of many families and staff members of the school. Even the school’s custodian was inspired to join in the painting, and the next week brought his co-workers into the library to show off his artistic contribution!
In the weeks before and after, Access Books Bay Area staff weeded and completely reorganized the library in a way that makes it easier for students to browse and find books. We provided new signage, a colorful rug and teacher chair. The new murals brighten the library, and make it more cheerful for the students. We also provided 2,000 books to help teachers to build their classroom libraries. The end result for the students at Franklin Elementary is a vastly improved selection of high quality and culturally relevant books, a homey and welcoming library, and increased excitement to read.
This was all possible due to the many enthusiastic volunteers working together, especially the families of Franklin Elementary. Thank you to Franklin for being such a good partner. Principal Ravo recently sent us a letter of thanks, saying “Access Books Bay Area… worked side by side with our community volunteers to empower our students and families to create a space that students choose to go to for fun during their breaks, increasing the sense of belonging for our students.”
We’re so excited to have provided a warm and cozy home-away-from-home reading space for the students of Franklin Elementary for years to come.