book tree

TAKE A CARD, LEAVE A BOOK — The holiday book tree is set up in the front of Dahlia & Sage Community Market until Jan. 2. The 2019 tree is pictured above.

Photo Zoë Strickland, Reveille archives

CARE book tree will be up until Jan. 2

Just because the major gift-giving holidays are gone doesn’t mean you can’t give the gift of reading. A book tree set up by the CARE (Cloverdale Adds Resources for Education) Foundation at Dahlia & Sage Community Market encourages folks to pick an ornament off of the tree and, in return, purchase the book listed on the ornament for a Cloverdale school. CARE coordinated with local librarians to set up a “holiday gift tree,” with bright red ornaments that list individual books that community members can buy and donate to school and classroom libraries in the Cloverdale Unified School District (CUSD). This year’s tree will stay up until Jan. 2.

The book collections at district sites are outdated due to years where district libraries were taken off of the budget.

“It’s kind of a known issue that our collection is so dated. It’s crazy because we went so many years without adding new books,” said Cloverdale High School (CHS) Library Manager Kathleen Linn.

Having the book tree helps the libraries bulk their collections back up, and help make sure that students have the materials they need for projects, papers or for recreational reading.

Linn said that when it came time for her to make a list of the books she’d like for the high school library, she looked at term paper topics that students write about and tried to add more current books that are relevant to student interests.

“A lot of our books obviously are still relevant, even though they’re not as current,” Linn said. “The science books need some updating, technology books we’re trying to add. Is there a long way to go? Sure. There’s always new books coming out and new science. The purpose, the goal and mission of a school library isn’t the same as the public library. We work closely with the public library here in Cloverdale, they’re amazing and they have so many resources.”

While all of the school sites are currently closed for in-person learning, Linn said that both her and Rhonda Knowles, the library manager for Jefferson Elementary and Washington School, have been using a pick-up book service for the libraries.

“I promote new books and I promote books that are more current that we have, that we added, by having a Google Classroom for the library so students can look up what’s in the collection. They email me and once a week I put books out that students ask for,” Linn said, noting that only a handful of CHS students have used the service, but that it’s being used more by students at Washington and Jefferson.

“The difference this year is that Dahlia & Sage came to us to say they wanted to do it again, we didn't ask them,” said Kate Bria, who’s in charge of this year’s book tree, when asked how this year’s book tree may differ from the trees in years past. “The bigger difference, of course, is COVID and the schools being closed. They have begun to do library pick-up service at the schools. Despite this horrible shut down, and the looming financial risk to their own jobs, the librarians still thought this was important to do and that is commitment and resilience.”

“I think the support that CARE shows the school libraries and that the community shares by donating those books shows that the libraries are supported by the Cloverdale community,” Linn said. “I hope that sends a message to the powers that be … that it’s a resource that the community values and wants to continue and wants to see in their schools.”

At the start of it being placed in the beginning of December, the tree had 60 book tags — 20 from Jefferson Elementary, 20 from Washington School and 20 from Cloverdale High School.

“The community has been very responsive and supportive this year. We thank everyone who donated books and support school literacy,” Bria said.

To pick up a book card from the holiday book tree, visit Dahlia & Sage Community Market at 115 East 2nd Street. Community members are being asked to either bring purchased books back to Dahlia & Sage or mail them to CHS.

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