Like many school libraries, the facility at Helen Tulk Elementary in Bishop’s Falls was in need of a book “upgrade” – and it will be getting one, thanks to Canada’s literary giant, Indigo Books.
Thanks to Indigo’s Love of Reading Foundation, 20 elementary schools from across the country are receiving $1.5 million in total for new books and other literacy materials.
Helen Tulk’s share of the pie is $19,000 each year over the next three years, for a total of $57,000. A literacy committee consisting of teachers at the school applied for the grant; it had done so in the past, but was turned down. This year, however, the school was successful.
Principal Dave Alcock said someone had told him about the program; the school board had also encouraged people to apply for the grants. Helen Tulk educators formed a team to research the applications and complete what was needed.
“About three years ago, this team got together, and each of us worked on a section of the proposal, shaped it, and we got some partners involved as well,” he said. “I think that was another part of the proposal they liked. We had the Knights of Columbus, the Lions Club, the parents’ association and the churches, they also had a partnership in this proposal.”
With the grant, Helen Tulk Elementary can order any books and technology Indigo Books may carry.
According to Alcock, what his school is getting over the three-year period is more than what he would have to run an entire school each year.
Cathy Rowe, a Grade 3 teacher at the Bishop’s Falls school and a member of its literacy committee, said there will be enough material from Indigo to stock all of the shelves.
“There will be a lot of variety to meet all of the various needs of the students in the building,” she added.
“When you look at our library, you get the illusion of a well-stocked library. There are 14,000-15,000 titles here, but the reality is that they’re dated,” said teacher-librarian Karen Cooke. “We first had the east and west schools in the town, and then we had Leo Burke close down, and we got some of their books, and the Pentecosal school closed down, and we got some of their books. You can go anywhere here, and pull out a book that’s 50-60 years old. Now we can take them off and replace them with new books that can be much more appealing to everybody.”