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New Books Help Fill The Shelves
0529 Grant 2
These students at Cardozo Middle School were enjoying a book called Journey to Topaz under a tree on a nice sunny day in May. The teachers and staff encourage reading to all the students, according to Jackie George the school librarian. VIRGINIA STILL/The News

Funding – which in turn provided for some more library books placed on the shelves – recently arrived at Cardozo Middle School.

Patricia O’Brien, field representative for Senator Tom Berryhill, was at Cardozo this past week to present school librarian Jackie George with the Barona Education Grant.

Each grant awarded through the Barona Education Grant Program is $5,000.

The grant program was established by the Barona Band of Mission Indians to help make a difference in schools throughout California. The money from the grant must be used specifically to buy books. The school had to meet certain criteria in order to receive this grant.

George explained that she originally discovered the grant when she was the librarian at Riverbank’s Mesa Verde Elementary. They had a new library but they didn’t have any books to fill the shelves.

“We didn’t have the funds for new books so I took it upon myself to research and find the grants,” said George. “There aren’t a whole lot of grants out there for libraries.”

Working for Riverbank Unified School District for 10 years, George has worked at a few different schools and states that the libraries need help.

Principal Kevin Bizzini expressed his gratitude and appreciation for all that George does for Cardozo, noting that her efforts have directly benefitted the students.

Cardozo Middle School is a Title 1 school and the library does not receive any funding. Several of the books in the library are outdated, paperback, and really worn, according to George.

“I pulled a book off the shelf from 1960,” said George. “Kids are always coming in asking for this book and that book.”

George advocates reading and stated that one of the students being promoted read over 2 million words this year. She also added that several teachers at the middle school promote reading like reading in class or doing book reports.

“Over the years of teaching students and now being a librarian, I see the benefits that reading has on our students,” stated George. “I see the self-confidence. They come in and maybe their reading levels aren’t that high but the more they read the better they get. It’s all about comprehension and they apply that to their state tests. All around, I just want to see these libraries thrive because it is a great benefit to our students.”