Readers’ generosity helps fill Ottawa school library

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“I will never have another week like this,” said school librarian Denise Natyshak, after readers of this newspaper and others responded in numbers to its plight in fundraising. fund, turning his modest hopes of selling enough books to earn enough to buy 10 more into something a bargain.

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“The financial support from the people of Ottawa has been incredible,” she adds. “In the coming weeks, there will be a lot of cheering – and reading – at Blossom Park.”

Natyshak, who is the librarian for Blossom Park Public and Sawmill Creek Elementary schools, lamented the difficulty of acquiring new books during the COVID-19 pandemic, noting reduced fundraising opportunities and the limitations of virtual book fairs – lower “attendance” for one, and much less generous profit sharing with the fair’s sponsor, Scholastic Books. As of last Tuesday, halfway through the 10-day show, online sales only generated a $ 80 credit for the library.

As of Monday morning, however, as the fair entered its final day, nearly $ 4,000 had been raised – $ 525 in the form of Scholastic credit and $ 3,410 via cash donations – with more contributions pledged by individuals and organizations. organizations.

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The first person to respond to the news of Natyshak’s predicament showed up at the school office with two checks for $ 200, one for each of the school’s libraries.

“(Her) kind words and generous donations set the stage for several days of heartwarming emails and phone calls and additional financial support,” Natyshak said.

Another woman made a donation of $ 1,000, explaining that she had no books as a child. “In fact, she didn’t own a book until she was 20. She said she was getting old and had the money, so why not donate? “

A former student who attended Blossom Park in the 1950s also made a donation.

“[He] told a story about his time in Blossom Park when someone stole a baseball glove from the handle of his bike, ”says Natyshak. “One can only imagine his initial sadness followed by his gratitude when a school staff member stepped in and bought him a replacement glove. It is heartwarming that he is mobilizing to support a school that showed him such kindness so long ago. “

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Perfect Books on Elgin Street invited Natyshak to drop by and lighten their shelves to the tune of $ 300, while members of the Shabinsky family donated $ 1,000. Local author Jack Briglio, meanwhile, donated copies of his own graphic novels.

In a touching community act, a parent campaign from nearby Sawmill Creek was put online to support the fair, while the families of the students and staff at Blossom Park School also contributed.

As thrilled as Natyshak is with the outcome, she’s hoping people will realize that school library underfunding issues aren’t limited to her two schools.

“Maybe more schools will get support from various places now that people realize that money is not plentiful and, in some cases, not available at all. In one of the classes in Blossom Park, the teacher projected the article on a screen and the students read it together in class. One of the students was shocked that his own library had these financial problems. He just assumed that because Canada is a “rich country” there would be books for everyone. “

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