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For the Love of Books

Published June 23, 2019 14:04

Source https://www.winnipegfreepress.com/our-communities/lance/For-the-love-of-books-511708462.html

There’s nothing like a good book.

And members of the Victor Mager School community will have a few more opportunities to delve into a good book in the near future, as the St. Vital-based school has received a $70,000 Literacy Fund grant from the Indigo Love of Reading Foundation.

From the 30 grant recipients this year that will receive a portion of the foundation’s $1.5-million literacy fund grant, there are only two schools from Manitoba. The other is Lord Nelson School, which is located in the Shaughnessy Park area of northwest Winnipeg.

According to a news release, the foundation’s grants provide high-needs elementary schools with an opportunity to grow their libraries and place more books in the hands of children in their communities. In some cases, this will include revitalizing the library’s collection of aging and outdated books to enhance the learning space.

Noting the school will receive the grant in instalments over the next three years, the school’s teacher-librarian Danny Grafton is thrilled Victor Mager has been selected this year.

"This shows the philanthropic side of Indigo, and how they want to make sure every school has enough books. This will make a significant difference to our book budget," Grafton said, noting the application process for the grant was extensive, and that it included the creation of a five-minute video featuring students explaining why reading is important.

Grafton said the grant will help the library better reflect the changing demographics of the school’s population, and also acknowledges the collaborative role the school plays in the community.

"We plan to update our collection to better reflect our school’s diversity," he said, adding that a significant number of the school’s students are English as an additional language (EAL) learners.

In terms of community partners, the Beliveau Road-based school works with the Boys and Girls Club of Winnipeg, and it also has breakfast and supervised lunch program, as well as a family centre that helps prepare young kids for the next step in their education.

"There’s also the ASPIRE summer literacy program, and we need to ask ourselves, ‘how can we engage different groups through the library?’" Grafton said.

Troy Reinhardt, the school’s principal, said the grant is a "gamechanger."

"In a time when resources are tough, an influx of $70,000 over three years can completely create a revolution, and this makes me so happy. We pride ourselves on being a community school, and many of our families don’t have the means to go out and buy books and games, which makes it even better knowing we can support them and the summer literacy program. "This is about literacy, but it’s also about life. It’s incredible, and it warms my heart."

"And as an educator, technology is wonderful, but you never want a book to become a dying breed," Reinhardt added.

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