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Parents raise funds to renovate neglected Boerum Hill school library

A display at children’s books at the renovated P.S. 38 library in Boerum Hill. Photo by Sierra Leone Starks

For Brooklyn Daily Eagle

For more than seven years, broken fans, old televisions and printers in need of toner filled the library in Boerum Hill’s Public School 38, keeping children from getting to the hundreds of books gathering dust inside.

Now, thanks to a group of parents, who did everything from raising funds to repainting the long-neglected space, the library’s doors are slated to reopen on March 12.

“The love of reading should be encouraged at a young age,” said Susan Homer, whose son is a first grader at the Pacific Street school. “We recognized that a library is a fundamental thing.”

Last year, Homer noticed the shuttered second-floor room and began brainstorming with other parents on how to get the library running again. They formed a parents’ committee with the blessing of the school’s principal, Yolanda Ramirez.

With no clear plan in mind, the four parents on the committee walked less than a mile to P.S. 32, whose recent library renovation project received more than$500,000 in funding.

“PS 32’s library is amazing,” said Corinthia Carter, a founding member of the P.S. 38 library committee.

The committee members were inspired by P.S. 32’s media center, complete with iPads, Mac desktops and plush couches for the students – a setup Carter compared to the main public library at Grand Army Plaza.

“A library with a lot of resources is a place where kids just do better,” said Adam Marcus, the librarian at P,S, 32. “They use those skills later on in life.”

By last spring, the committee got the support of Councilman Stephen Levin. But money was slow in coming and the goal of reopening the library by September was deferred.

Shortly after the start of this school year, P.S. 38 teacher and former librarian Monica Padilla got a call from New York Cares, the city's largest volunteer organization. The group offered to send 93 volunteers to assist in a one-day school renovation project in October.

Parents teamed with the volunteers to move the items cluttering the library to an actual storage room. They repainted walls and shelves, cleaned the counters and windows and re-shelved dusted-off books.

“Wow, it actually looks like a library in here,” said one teacher who visited the room after the volunteers finished.

The parents were also able to obtain $3,500 in start-up funding from the Boerum Hill Association (BHA).“We’re excited about the project, and we’re going to see what else we can help them with in terms of funding,” said BHA President Howard Kolins.

The committee’s work, though, isn’t over yet. Parents hope more improvements will be on tap.

“We just have to reach out to our neighborhood,” Carter said.

March 7, 2013 - 1:50pm


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