At Sherwood Charter Elementary School south of Portland, Oregon, a volunteer librarian was finally able to purchase new books for her students by organizing a PledgeStar read-a-thon.
Parent volunteer Shannon Burns has worked in the school's library for about two years when she had the idea. She was attending a PTA meeting when she heard about PledgeStar from another parent and recalled how much her school library could use money for books and supplies. As a charter school, Sherwood's library is completely donation-based, so most of the books on the shelves were used, falling apart, or outdated. Burns wanted more for her students.
She decided to plan an online read-a-thon to raise money for the library. The read-a-thon was held over two weeks, and students tracked their minutes read at home using PledgeStar’s helpful read-a-thon tools as well as collected donations from family and friends for their efforts. "It was so easy to do online," Burns said. "It's nice for parents to collect money that way, especially from grandparents and family in other states."
The read-a-thon was a great success. Burns and other parent volunteers were able to purchase about 250 new books from a warehouse and local toy store. Because students had been reading used and older books for several years, Burns had compiled a wish list based on student recommendations. After the read-a-thon, almost all of the books on the list were placed on the Sherwood library shelves. Burns said she plans to buy all of the remaining recommendations in the near future.
"The read-a-thon left us with a huge budget for next year," she said. "We can also pay for processing supplies, labels, a new bookshelf, and a rounder for the library." In the past, Burns had visited a Scholastic Books warehouse to pick up books that she purchased herself. But there was no way she would be able to fund everything the students wanted and needed to enjoy reading as much as she did. She knew the read-a-thon was needed to make that happen.
Next year, Burns plans to keep her position as librarian at Sherwood and will use PledgeStar for her 2020 read-a-thon.